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Joining the Qatar Running Series

With a marathon runner in the house who’s brought home several medals from a variety of races, it was only natural that my boys would be interested in running. And more specifically, interested in earning medals of their own.

Having spent the summer practising in England at various junior parkrun events, we came back to Qatar ready to take on the challenge of earning a medal. Lucky for us, the challenge was ready and waiting in the form of the Qatar Running Series (QRS).

As my husband signed up to complete the 10K, my seven-year-old the 3K Primary Junior race, and my four-year-old the Mini Kids race, it seemed only fair that I also signed up to run the 5K. With a target for each of us in mind, we set out for our respective races, each determined to do our best.

And do our best we did. With my husband winning silver in the last 10K of the fall series, myself beating my previous QRS personal best, my seven-year-old completing the course in a time faster than he was expecting, and quite simply, the steely determination of my four-year-old as he ran on his own because he was too fast for us all, a family of runners was born.

What is the Qatar Running Series?

Technically, the Qatar Running Series is a selection of races grouped into five separate series throughout the year—but it is so much more than that. It’s a community of like-minded runners battling to beat their personal bests.

Back in 2009, Ziyad Rihan moved to Qatar with two small children and a thirst for the outdoor lifestyle. Pretty quickly, he found out that there was a distinct lack of running events in Doha. And more so, he felt that his kids had fewer opportunities to embrace a healthy lifestyle. In 2015, Ziyad set up Z Adventures with the aim to organise marathon adventures around the world—and at the insistence of his children—to start a series of events in Qatar to promote long-distance running.

That first event was held in November 2015 with 100 participants (plus Ziyad’s two children). Four years on and over 100 events have been organised in Qatar, with the Mini Kids and Junior programmes expanding to between 60–70 children per event.

Ziyad has certainly achieved his aim of promoting running across Qatar and to all age groups. The QRS races are a perfect way to get into running.

Whether you’re setting yourself a goal to run within a certain time frame, as far as a particular distance, or to even just finish your run, the friendly atmosphere and camaraderie at the events make pounding the pavement a pleasure.

Who can take part?

The Qatar Running Series is open to anyone who is medically able to run, and all participants who register must agree to a participant waiver on registration.

The youngest participants are three-years-old, and there is no upper age restriction.

The races are grouped by age as follows:

Mini Kids:       Three to six

Primary:         Seven to 11

Secondary:    12 to 15

Open:             16 to 39

Masters:         40+

What’s included?

Besides a race bib and custom-designed finishers medals, the Qatar Running Series entry fee also covers several other costs, including water stations at the start/finish line and 1.5km turning point; medical support from Qatar Red Crescent; public liability insurance; and course marshals. And of course, awards for the top three finishers (male and female, across each category) in the 10K, 5K and 3K races.

Upcoming Events

QRS is arranged into five separate series:

  • The Winter Edition
  • The Spring Series
  • The Ramadan Challenge
  • The Summer Sizzler
  • The Fall Edition

With a working year running from August to June, the remaining races in 2020 are (at the time of writing) scheduled to take place on the following dates:

QRS Winter Edition Race 2: Friday 14 February 2020

QRS Winter Edition Race 3: Friday 21 February 2020

QRS Winter Edition Race 4: Saturday 7 March 2020

QRS Spring Series Race 1: Saturday 28 March 2020

QRS Spring Series Race 2: Friday 3 April 2020

QRS Spring Series Race 3: Friday 10 April 2020

QRS Ramadan Series Race 1: Thursday 23 April 2020

QRS Ramadan Series Race 2: Thursday 30 April 2020

QRS Ramadan Series Race 3: Thursday 7 May 2020

QRS Ramadan Series Race 4: Thursday 14 May 2020

QRS Summer Sizzler Race 1: Friday 12 June 2020

QRS Summer Sizzler Race 2: Friday 19 June 2020

Location: The events will take place at MIA Park and Al Bidda Park, and comprise of distances ranging from 3K to half marathon.

All events will take place on accurately measured short courses with multiple laps, and are restricted to a maximum of 180 participants.

Parking: Free public parking is available at both locations

Contact: Z-adventures.org/qatar-running-series.html

Hours: Start times vary depending on the distance of the run. At the time of writing, the scheduled start times are as follows. Please be aware that they are subject to change:

Half Marathon: 05:00

10K and 5K: 06:00

3K: 06:03

Mini Kids: 07:00

Please note that the Ramadan Series will take place after Iftar.

Ages: Three and up

Fees: ADULTS (16+): QAR 110 for each event.      

          JUNIORS (seven to 15): QAR 55 for each event.

          MINI KIDS (three to six): QAR 35 for each event.

Toilets: Available at both locations

Dress code: Running attire and trainers

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about embarking on exercise with a medical condition or any other health objectives.

Doha Family Rating

Convenience: 3.5/5 (5 am is pretty early!)

Safety: 4/5

Facilities: 3.5/5

Overall: 4/5

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