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Qeshm Geopark Welcomes Trail Running Champions
Qeshm Geopark Welcomes Trail Running Champions

Qeshm Geopark Welcomes Trail Running Champions

Qeshm Geopark Welcomes Trail Running Champions

The second international trail running race was held on Thursday in Qeshm Geopark with 300 participants from Iran and the world.
About 280 domestic as well as 10 foreign runners including both men and women ran the race, Qeshm Free Zone official website reported.
The first prize winners in both men and women groups were awarded $500 and the second and third got $400 and $300 respectively.
Themed “Discover by Running”, the competition took place in two difficult levels in the 30- and 60-kilometer routes. 
The shorter route ascended and descended by 510 meters with 2 refreshment points while the more difficult level went up and down by around 1930m with 6 refreshment points. 
Moreover, a training workshop, folk music, yoga sessions and tours of the island’s natural sites were organized on the sidelines of the race.
According to Davoud Shirkhani, a sky running world champion and administrator of the event, this year’s event is different in that its route has been certified by the International Trail Running Association.
“A great deal of effort and time was spent this year to bring the routes to global standards,” he said. 
Qeshm Geopark Trail is now the only Iranian race that has been registered on ITRA’s calendar. 
The international association offers a service of certification of the route and evaluation of the difficulty of trail races. This service will certify the distance, the elevation gains and losses of a trail race and supply an evaluation of the race’s difficulty by assessing it on a range from 0 to 6 points.
The Goepark Trail gained score of 1 in its short-distance race and 3 in the longer route.  
Runners will also gain valid scores that will help them qualify for more prestigious competitions worldwide. 
“The global ranking is a strong motivation for the world’s great runners to take part in the race,” Shirkhani said. 
Last year, 192 runners competed in the race. According to Shirkhani, foreign runners enjoyed running on the island describing it as “running on Mars”.
More than half of them extended their stay for two more days, he said. 

  Preparation 
To make commuting easier for participants and their companions, a chartered flight was announced three weeks prior to the event by the organizers. Ecolodges in Qeshm’s villages also accommodated the travelers so that local residents would benefit from the event. 
“Ecolodge capacities are full,” Shirkhani said a day before the race. 
The competition is capable of admitting 1,000 runners should adequate lodging facilities be provided.
According to Shikhani, Qeshm Island is the ideal place for the competition because it is a free zone and does not require complicated procedures and coordination with various organizations as is the case on the mainland. 
Qeshm is Iran’s largest Persian Gulf Island. Its Geopark was initially added to the Global Geoparks Network in 2006, but was dropped in 2013 due to certain problems. On May 2017, it managed to regain its global status.

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