Spectacular Inaugural Edition of the Sandstorm DXB Obstacle Course Race Sees 2800 Participants

Entertainment | February 20, 2017 | News

Done Events DXB Entertainment PJSC Dubai Holding

Done Events has added another feather to their cap in the form of the region’s largest obstacle course race, Sandstorm DXB, which took place in Marmoum on Febraury 10.  The event, which was under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and powered by Dubai Holding saw over 2,800 participants tackle over 40+ obstacles spread over both 5k and 10k courses.

The course, which started and finished at the central race village, meandered through the beautiful Al Qudra landscape across 4 different terrains (rock, sand, water and mud) which blended perfectly into a backdrop of sand dunes, lakes, greenery and the local wildlife.

The task laid out in front of Done Events was to create an innovative participant and spectator experience in a very unique environment. “One of our main objectives was to create an enjoyable experience not only for those taking part but also for those who came to cheer them on”, remarked Girish Bhat, Managing Director, Done Events.

The course featured innovative obstacles, which were developed by the Done Events production team under the direction of Race Director Mark Leinster. Mark’s resume includes over 300 races completed and built at the OCR World Championships, organizing 2 successive UK OCR Championships as well as being the build manager at a variety of other races all over the UK.

Leinster said, “Creating watery, muddy obstacles was a challenge, the water ditches had to be filled the night before and on the morning of the race as we wanted to minimize the use of membranes to keep a natural look. The icing on the cake was being recognized by the OCR World Championships founder Adrian Bijanada and sponsor Jesse Fulton who both personally endorsed the race with their presence, citing that it was the biggest race they have ever attended. It was a joy to build and I personally feel connected to Sandstorm and can’t wait to see the sport and participation of obstacle course racing grow in the UAE.”              

The obstacles included a 45ft high vertical obstacle nicknamed Big Red, gymnast rings, rope swings and tunnels. 

Participants had to crawl, climb and swing over, up and under a vast array of creative obstacles constructed from trussing systems, stage decking, custom fabricated rigs and even humble tire piles. The pièce de résistance was a fully functioning near vertical 36ft water slide affectionately named the ‘Sandstorm Drop’.

Utilizing over 500 tons of scaffolding, 12 tons of timber, 5km of rope and 200,000 galloons of water the course was put together by a crew of over 60 people using 4 cranes, 3 telehandlers and 1 20-ton excavator.

The course was constructed over a 2-week period utilizing many of Done Events’ suppliers to help deliver a large list of unique features. Sandstorm DXB was the first obstacle course race to feature a course-wide audio system to encourage participants to push themselves even harder.

“We strive for excellence in every job we do and this one was no different. The uniqueness of the structures and obvious HSE concerns made each obstacle a mini project in itself. Whenever you’re working in a desert environment, unforeseen challenges crop up but the team and our suppliers went the extra mile every step of the way and delivered something we’re really proud of,” said Sonu Balchandani, Production Manager, Done Events.

The event experience was a focal point for the team with nearly 10,000 meters of police barriers outlining a clearly marked parking area, comprehensive registration systems ensuring no queues and incorporating the race itself into the journey with visitors walking under Big Red.

The participants’ area is where Done Events really raised the bar with operational shower facilities and indoor changing areas for both male and female participants with a large fully staffed bag drop area nearby.

The event was free to attend as a spectator and visitors could catch all the action on live feed screens beaming the action from around the course via a swarm of drone and wire cameras. The Race Village was also home to an F&B area, which was curated by the team at Truckers DXB featuring some of Dubai’s favorite food truck vendors. Dubai Properties unveiled a Kid’s Area complete with a children’s obstacle course and family entertainment.

A colourful street parade including stilt walkers and jugglers were on hand throughout the day along with the Virgin Radio street team. “It was really important to us that the people who came with their kids and families enjoyed the day as much as the race participants. Good food and entertainment can make a huge difference; the spectator’s energy really impacts those who are out on the course. It’s equally important that the competitive runners have a smooth experience in terms of access and registration so they can focus on the race ahead”, commented Uli Stanke, the Race Village Manager from Done Events.

Sandstorm DXB was the regions first ever obstacle course race to act as a qualifier for the OCR World Championship (ocrworldchampionships.com) which takes place later this year in Canada. The competitive 10k winners will be invited to take part in the world championships with Dubai Holding taking care of their costs.

There was also zero impact on the beautiful Marmoum landscape, with the site being fully restored to its pre-event condition. During reinstatement, all of the materials were removed with irrigation ditches created to responsibly and efficiently drain the water used, directing it to the local vegetation. All of the water bottles consumed were collected and recycled, even the animal water trays have been fully restocked.

Managed by Done Events, the race at Marmoun was powered by Dubai Holding and saw participants tackle over 40+ obstacles spread over both 5k and 10k courses.

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