The new Petra Marathon is a combination of ultra challenging running and sightseeing in one of the world's most spectacular archaeological sites. Organisers expect runners to travel from all over the world to run among ancient temples and monasteries hewn from towering sandstone rocks.
Marathon day begins early in the morning in temperatures around 60°F (15°C). Before the race is over, the sun will mercilessly have sent temperatures towards the low 100's (38-40°C).
From the start, full and half marathoners will head directly for the winding cleft (called the siq), which is the only way into Petra. Towering rock walls line the narrow path. Towards the end of the siq, Petra's most famous ruin Al Khazneh, the Treasury, begins to appear.
At this early hour, Petra is not yet open to visitors, and runners can contemplate the ancient city in peace and quiet - a luxury in this popular place. After a round trip between the ruins, the course continues out into the dramatic mountains behind Petra. This is nothing like the fast, flat courses of classic city marathons. Asphalt roads appear as short, pleasant changes in an abundance of sand, rock, gravel and dried-up riverbeds, and both ascents and descents are plentiful and steep. The efforts are rewarded on the top of each crest and hilltop with breathtaking views of the valley in which Petra hid itself from the world for more than 1,000 years.
Petra is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. Petra Marathon is one of the extreme Adventure Marathon® series, which is an uncompromising concept linking highly demanding running with unique scenery. Each is offered as part of a tour including flights, accommodation and a full itinerary.
Other Adventure Marathons take place on the Great Wall of China, among the wildlife of South Africa, between Buddhist monasteries in the Himalayas and on the permanent ice sheet of Greenland.