Qatargas employee Ibrahim al Harami took home a third-place prize in Samla 2021, an eight-stage race across 200 kilometres of Qatari desert.

According to Qatari sports channel Alkass, which described the race as “one of the world’s most gruelling and challenging”, the eight stages began with a 30-kilometre run from Abu Samra, near the border with Saudi Arabia, north to a beach at Kharayej and a three-kilometre swim to complete stage two.

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Stage three involved a 41-kilometre run followed by a 70-kilometre biking trail to the town of Al Ghuwayriyah.

The stage five shooting event was followed by yet another run, a 35-kilometre trek to Fuwairet Beach on the north-eastern coast.

After a six-kilometre kayak phase, the race concluded with a final 15-kilometre run to the finish line at Al Hawila.

The racers are required to carry much of their own kit for the race but are supported by logistics and medical teams.

This year’s event had the added burden of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, requiring attention to sanitation, testing and proper distancing.

As Samla chief executive Azzam al Mannai said before the event, according to Alkass: “The race will cover all aspects of health and safety including entertaining the fans.”

A total of 119 Samla participants finished the race this year in times ranging from 23 hours 13 minutes to the limit of 60 hours.

Harami, who completed the race in just over 25 hours four minutes, is a familiar face for followers of the event, having finished in second place in Samla races in 2018 and 2019, according to the race’s website.