Set against the iconic backdrop of Ayers Rock and Kata Tjuta, the Australian Outback Marathon is a chance to run on the continent’s famed Red Earth desert landscape with athletes from all over the world. Considered quite a challenging race, the marathon route is varied, with the terrain including soft sand, dunes, bush roads and dirt trails throughout Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

Largely isolated pockets in the course celebrate the country’s wild and open landscapes, punctuated by powerful views of monolithic peaks as you get deeper. In its 6th year now, this year’s edition of the Australian Outback Marathon is scheduled for July 25, with daytime temperatures around 21 degrees C, and less than 10% humidity – making it highly conducive running weather. While the limited number of entrants and the wide expanses make it vastly different from urban marathons and their festivities, previous athletes have sworn by the race’s inimitable natural beauty and truly unique atmosphere.

The event consists of multiple races suited for all levels of runners:

Marathon
With a cut-off time of 8 hours, the marathon course is relatively flat apart from a few inclines and short sand dunes that offer some challenges along the way. While runners will be working to keep up their pace through to the end, the views from the highest parts of the course are said to be totally worth it.

Half marathon
Primarily off-road and also with a cut-off of 8 hours, the half marathon route consists of bush trails, access roads as well as tracks and unsealed roads. Runners will be racing on red earth and blessed with stunning views of Uluru and The Olgas around almost every corner.

Red sand and miles of open space are the dominant features of the Australian Outback Marathon (Image: Pryorpage)
Red sand and miles of open space are the dominant features of the Australian Outback Marathon which will be held on July 25 this year (Image: PryorPage)

11K run
The cut off time for the 11K is 6 hours and 46 mins and the race is a fun run/walk course set in bush trails and graded, unsealed roads and only a couple of manageable sand dunes on the way.

6K run
Open to all ages, the 6K run follows the marathon course and provides amateurs and beginners the chance to run with seasoned marathoners amidst the same breathtaking scenery.

Apart from the races, the event also includes plenty of space for spectators to line up at any point on the route and cheer on their running friends and family. Non-runners can also opt for other exciting activities in the area organised by the same people who are in charge of the marathon, such as camel rides and sunset tours in Uluru, the Kata Tjuta ‘Valley of the Winds’ Walk and rock sky-diving at Ayers.

Visit this page for more information about the race, including rules and entry criteria.

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