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Lut Ultramarathon Set for September

This year's competition is expected to push runners to the very edge as temperatures will be higher than last year
Lut is a vast desert that extends across three provinces, but the bulk of it lies in the southern province of Kerman.Lut is a vast desert that extends across three provinces, but the bulk of it lies in the southern province of Kerman.
Scheduled for Sept. 15-24, the ultramarathon is organized by the Italy-based XRO

The second edition of the Iranian Silk Road Ultramarathon in the hostile environment of Lut Desert has been scheduled for September this year, according to the event's organizer.

Moein Afzali, the planning manager of ISRU, was also quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency that competitors from seven countries have signed up so far.

"We've limited the number of runners to 50 this year (down from 100)," he said, adding that those interested have three months to register online at www.extremeracesorganization.com.

Scheduled for Sept. 15-24, the ultramarathon is organized by the Italy-based XRO (stands for Extreme Races Organization), a company that specializes in "extreme adventure marathons".

Afzali said the company has estimated the cost of hosting international racers at around 100 million to 120 million rials ($2,600 - 3,200) while the figure is closer to 40 million rials ($1,000) for Iranian competitors.

Like last year, the race has two formats: a full version in which the route extends for 250 kilometers, and a "Lite" version that has the participants run for 150 kilometers. Last year, Moroccan athlete Mohamad Ahansal won the full race while German runner Rafael Fuchsgruber took home the Lite gold.

According to the official XRO website, the route is designed by Paolo Barghini, multiple winner of extreme races worldwide and founder of World Running Academy.

The 2016 edition was held in May, when the temperature in the desert is lower. This year's competition is expected to push runners to the very edge. The marathon last year made history, as it was the first event of its kind since the 1979 Islamic Revolution where men and women competed alongside.

Lut is a vast desert that extends across three provinces, but the bulk of it lies in the southern province of Kerman.

Shahdad Desert, a part of Lut that the runners pass through, is thought to be the world's hottest place that registered the record temperature of 70.7 degrees Celsius in 2005. The desert is home to unique kalout (yardangs) rarely seen by westerners.

Shortly after the marathon was held in 2016, Lut Desert was inscribed Iran's first natural and 21st world heritage site on the World Heritage List.

Last week, it was reported that Paolo Venturini, a 49-year-old Italian runner who took part in ISRU in 2016, will return on July 21 to set a Guinness record by running 80 km on the mysterious dark lava that covers large portions of Shahdad.

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