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  • Writer's pictureTom Bushell

Adventure // This Hatta Adventure Race is a brilliant way to explore the UAE mountain town // UAE

Updated: Dec 22, 2020

The Garmin Quest Hatta Adventure Race is the first race of its kind in the United Arab Emirates...

  • Race across Hatta whilst cycling, kayaking and running

  • Stunning race track through the Hajar Mountains

  • First of its kind race in the UAE proving hugely popular

  • The perfect adventure based race to fully appreciate the UAE's mountain landscapes


I needed to end 2020 on a high note, and the Garmin Quest Hatta Adventure Race was just the ticket!

There is no doubt 2020 has been hugely challenging for everyone around the world.

The plans we had going into the year, exciting things to look forward to, holidays and even our normal way of life have all been shelved and quickly it became simply, a fight for survival. A fight to remain in a positive state of mind and a fight to take any positive we could find from each day. The turmoil of the past year may well have changed our perspectives and future planning. Lockdowns and less time spent frantically keeping up with the traditional day-to-day hustles and tussles led us to take stock, look at our lot in life and perhaps decide to change course completely. In that quest to make 2020 a positive as much as possible, I set about launching The Sports Explorer.

It was March, in the hight of lockdown here in Dubai that I began to play around with website builders and actually start to proactively build a concept that had been in my mind for a number of years. Sometimes, it takes a shock to the system - a complete shift from the norm to set your mind towards what it is you truly want to accomplish. Without those day-to-day distractions, room is made available to hone in on what really is important. I launched The Sports Explorer in September, 2020. At first, family and friends were my audience but four months later as we approach the end of this year to forget, it is wonderful to see an audience starting to grow - and I welcome everyone who has spent some time on this website, the YouTube channel or who has followed on social media.

I have mentioned a few times, The Sports Explorer is about telling the story of our world through sport & adventure. Getting to know a country through it's sporting history, culture and events that are must-attend occasions as well as the adventures that bring that destination to life. The activities that we can all do that offer a glimpse into the beauty, stories and landscapes, plus perhaps provide a little challenge to us all.

After a period of time where we have all consumed our fair share of negative news stories; US elections, Brexit negotiations, conflicts and of course a global pandemic in 2020 to name a few, my aim is to build a community and start looking at our world through sport & adventure.

Two things that bring us together, whether that be a group of friends hiking together, a family outing to a iconic sporting event or meeting new people and creating new friends through sport and adventure.

In essence, and even more importantly once we move past this pandemic, our planet is our playground and I'm setting out on a mission to showcase the very best highlights to you.

So, with all the trials and tribulations of 2020, I was determined to end the year on a high note. And to do that, I took part in the first ever Garmin Quest Hatta Adventure Race in the UAE mountain town of Hatta.

As you should know by now, The Sports Explorer is not a platform to showcase my athletic prowess - there really isn't much to show off - but it is a platform to showcase destinations through sport and adventure and what better way to highlight the adventures within Hatta than cycling, kayaking and running through its stunning terrain.

The Garmin Quest Hatta Adventure race was the first race of its kind in the United Arab Emirates and if this first edition is anything to go by, it will become a staple event in the country.

With the Hajar Mountains as the race track there is never a dull moment from start to finish. The Challenger Race, which I competed in, consisted of a 7km mountain cycle before a

2.5km run up towards Hatta Kayak.

Then it was into a kayak for a 1km sprint on the water before returning to a 2.5km run, downhill this time! With the end in sight, a 6km mountain bike ride and a 500m run completed the race. Now, this was the first long distance race I had ever completed in and what joy it was. Why? Because as well as competing, you are exploring. You're coming across areas that you otherwise would not have discovered.

Hatta's Heritage Village is a wonderful little oasis complete with an ancient Falaj system - the 3000+ year old canal system that is used to carry fresh rainwater collected in wells beneath the surface high in the mountains to communities that need easy access to fresh water. The tracks that meander around the mountains make for perfect off-road cycling days out - of which you can do whenever takes your fancy from Hatta Wadi Hub and the running sections give you an insight into what a great hike in Hatta would consist off.

Hatta Kayak is not to be under-estimated either. With its striking setting on a body of water created by Hatta Dam, surrounded by the rugged mountain terrain, its picture perfect.

I've explored Hatta a lot in 2020 - post lockdown, it was a breath of fresh air and the perfect antidote to being stuck indoors during the long days of not leaving the house.

What this race did, wrapped up in a big multi-discipline adventure, was showcase one of the UAE's greatest adventure playground's. I have no doubt the Garmin Quest Hatta Adventure Race will return in 2021 and when it does... sign up, compete, take in the beauty of the Hajar Mountains and decide what activity you want to explore further afterwards, when you are proudly wearing your medal!

See you later 2020, here's to 2021!


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