Desert run: The Spartan World Championship 2020 will take place in Abu Dhabi

This is the first time the world-famous obstacle course racing event will be held outside the US

HATTA, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Participants finishing the race of the Spartan race  in the terrain Hatta Mountain Bike Trail, Dubai.  Leslie Pableo for The National
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The UAE is no stranger to hosting international events and races but, for the first time, it will serve as the setting for the gruelling Spartan World Championship. The event is set to take place over the weekend of December 4 and 5, right in time for the UAE’s 49th National Day celebrations. This is the first time the global event will take place outside the US in its nine-year history.

“Abu Dhabi has everything that Spartans dream of in a World Championship: epic and difficult terrain, incredible culture and exotic desert adventures, just outside of an ultra-modern city full of activities. There’s nowhere better for our inaugural World Championship on foreign soil,” says Spartan founder and chief executive, Joe De Sena.

The main event will take place on Friday, December 4; the half-marathon-distance Spartan Beast will featuring a mix of high-speed running, steep climbs and more than 30 signature Spartan obstacles including the Spear Throw, Barbed Wire Crawl and Helix and Rope Jump. The event expects to see endurance athletes from more than 50 countries across the globe participating to stake their claim on the $120,000 (Dh440,000) prize money.

Other than the Spartan Beast, there will also be the third annual Spartan Kids World Championship, open to children aged 10 to 14 who have placed top three in their age and gender group at any Spartan Kids race around the world. The action-packed weekend will culminate with the Team World Championship, set to take place on Saturday, 5 December.

Meanwhile non-qualified athletes also have plenty of reason to get excited. There will be Open Beast heats on Saturday as well as an open heat kids' races of varying distances. More than 100 competitive age group heats will take place on Saturday, December 5.

The event also promises traditional Emirati food, cultural shows, dune rides, yoga classes and closing fireworks.

For more information and to register, visit