Posted on March 26, 2017

On Saturday, Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF) and ‘Diverse’, a newly established Qatari business that specialises in sports events management, successfully organised Qatar’s first ever obstacle course race – ‘Esrar’ (which means determination in Arabic). The event involved more than 250 local and regional participants, from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait, who pushed themselves to the limits in overcoming a range of specially designed obstacles. 

Winners were awarded in the presence of senior members from the organising committee, including Mr. Nasser Abdullah Al Hajri, Director of PR and Communication at AZF, Mr. Abdullah Al Khater, Manager of Events at Aspire Zone Foundation, Ms. Al Anoud Al Misnad, a senior organising member from AZF, and Mr. Khaled Saadoun Al Kuwari, CEO of ‘Diverse’. A number of well-known sporting figures also took part including Olympic medallist, Mutaz Barshim as well as prominent local media personalities such as Mohammed Saadoun Al Kuwari from BeIN Sports, Ali Al Meslemani from Aljazeera, and Sabah Al Kuwari from Al Rayyan TV.

The event attracted sporting enthusiasts from across the region who travelled to Doha to take part in the race. These included first and second place winners Fahad Al Sahli from Saudi Arabia who completed the race in 19 minutes and 17 seconds, and Kuwaiti participant Jassem Alostath, who finished the race in 21 minutes and 09 seconds. Qatari participant Khamis Waleed finished in third place with a recorded time of 21 mins and 30 seconds. In the women’s category, British contestant Leigh Osborne won first place after finishing the race in 25 minutes. She was followed in second place by Romanian contestant, Nicoleta Hodorogea, who finished just three seconds behind. Qatari contestant Reem Al-Muftah came in third after finishing the race in 28 minutes and 46 seconds.

Qatar’s first Esrar obstacle course 2 [].jpg

Commenting on the event, Mr. Nasser Abdullah Al Hajri, Director of PR and Communication at AZF, said: “Today we launched a new sport in Qatar. Even though this is the first event of its kind, the turnout from participants has been very encouraging. We’re especially thrilled to see that participants from across the region travelled to Qatar to take part, including from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. AZF is always keen to find new activities to engage all members of the community, no matter what their age. This is a key part of our mission to promote a sports culture and encourage active, healthy lifestyles in Qatar. Our partnership with Diverse has been very successful and reflects our commitment to supporting young Qatari entrepreneurs. I’m sure we’ll find many more opportunities for further collaboration with them as well as with other local entrepreneurs who have unique and innovative ideas to offer.”

Commenting on his victory, Fahad Al Sahli from Saudi Arabia said: “This race is relatively new to the Middle East. It was quite challenging because an obstacle course is a full-body work out and tests very specific sets of skills for activities like wall climbing, the commando crawl and monkey bar. My hope is that we’ll see more events like this in the region, and greater numbers of local and regional sports enthusiasts taking part. The quality of the planning undertaken by Aspire Zone Foundation was exceptional. The organisers were very welcoming and accepted our suggestions and recommendations for future years. I look forward to coming to Doha again for next year’s edition.”

Qatar’s first Esrar obstacle course 3 [].jpg

Speaking about her participation in the race, Qatari participant, Reem Al Muftah said: “The standard of competition was very high, and the obstacles were really challenging, particularly the monkey bar. I’m very proud to have achieved third place. It was a really fun event and I encourage more people, and particularly women, to participate next year. I’m very impressed with Aspire Zone Foundation for introducing this new sport to Qatar. The level of organisation involved in this competition was great, and I hope to participate in more of AZF’s events in the future.”

The ‘Esrar’ obstacle course race is the first of its kind in Qatar. It was open to sports enthusiasts, athletes and non-athletes, men and women. The race consisted of 14 obstacles including the commando crawl, tyres split steps, 6ft wall and 8 ft. wall and inverted wall climbing, balance beam, sand bang carrying, vertical cargo net and monkey bar. This event is part of AZF’s mission to promote sporting activity and provide a range of activities for all members of the community year-round, in line with Qatar’s National Vision 2030.

More information about AZF’s programmes and events can be found on AZF’s social media channels, through the ‘Life in Aspire’ smartphone app, or the website