For those who love to run, the confines of a treadmill or the familiarity of a running track can sometimes get monotonous. The whole idea of running is to set runners free, to let them explore more of their world and the extent of their own limits. With that in mind, the Sun & Sand Sports team got out of town at the weekend and headed for the hills to take on The North Face Rock Run 2016.
Held on Friday 1st April 2016 at Wadi Shawka, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, The North Face Rock Run was a one-of-a-kind adventure, ditching the ease of city running tracks — taking runners out of their comfort zones and out into the wilderness. Seeing over 1,200 people from all walks of life taking part, runners sprinted over gravel, rock and through water to complete the 5K, 10k and 21K courses. At just an hour’s drive away from Dubai, Wadi Shawka features quite a grueling mountainous terrain with its trails, water bodies and the occasional camel in the road, but none of that could put a dent in the enthusiasm of the runners. Neither could the weather, with its overcast skies and occasional spatter of rain.
The run began at 4 pm with a quick briefing on run instructions and safety procedures. Coach Lee Harris then got the pack warmed up to go the distance with quick jumps, lunges and squats. With upbeat music booming over loudspeakers, the runners were pumped up and ready for the race which began in phases; the 21k run at 4:30 pm, the 10k run at 4:35 pm and the 5k run at 4:40 pm. Participants dashed off, some strapped with GoPro cameras, others with hydration kits, and all with the common goal of taking on an unfamiliar terrain to prove their ability amidst the tricky terrain.
This year’s Rock Run was the 2nd edition of this running event with attendance more than doubling last year’s 500 runners. Started last year as a way of taking runners out of the city, the Rock Run 2016 was more than just a regular marathon. It was a celebration for the whole family, with a live band, live DJs, food trucks, tents, massage beds and fire dancers to keep everyone entertained. A pop-up shop even let people shop The North Face gear right at the venue and the brand’s newest line of athletic wear: Mountain Athletics was available to shop on site.
As the sun began its trip down the horizon and runners returned to the sound of cowbells and cheers from the run crew, the look on their faces was priceless, not just because of the applause at the finish line but because they had made it across, and what a personal achievement that was. That’s the whole point of The North Face Rock Run — to take people out of their comfort zones and routines, and to encourage them explore the world around them.
As the runners tore past the finish line, they were awarded medals and greeted with hugs and congratulations from family and friends. The evening saw everyone settle around the fireplace as a prize distribution ceremony was followed by live entertainment featuring fire eaters, fire dancers and music for everyone to dance to. In a celebration of athleticism and the outdoors, The North Face Rock Run is about bringing everyone closer to nature and that’s exactly what they did.
To shop the latest range of The North Face gear online, head to the Sun & Sand Sports store and kit yourself out for your next outdoor adventure.