Marathon Events in Jordan
Run back in time…
Challenge yourself to a desert run in historic settings!
Starting in the ancient city of Petra, the Petra Desert Marathon leads runners past the incredible tombs, mountainside carvings and caves before venturing into the arid, lunar-like landscapes of the Jordanian desert. Choose the marathon, half marathon or cheer on the runners!
Being rich in history, culture and scenic nature, Jordan offers its visitors superb possibilities for an exciting vacation. From the splendid ruins of Petra and the vast and awe-inspiring Wadi Rum desert, to a floating swim in the Dead Sea – Jordan has something for everyone to enjoy, not to mention the warm hospitality of the Jordanian people.
Embark on an Arabian adventure and run the desert race of a lifetime!
The Petra Desert Marathon is a challenging adventure marathon set in the beautiful desert region of Jordan. Starting in the ancient city of Petra, the route takes runners on a remarkable route through the area surrounding Petra. From the lunar-like mountain landscape to the arid desert, runners navigate challenging terrain in the dry, desert heat.
Information relating to the marathon event can be found on this page. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, have a look at the important information section on the registration packages page, or get in touch with us.
Marathon runners must be minimum 18 years old on race day.
Half marathon runners must be minimum 16 years old on race day.
All finishers receive a medal. A small, symbolic prize is given to the winners of both distances for men and women. Please note that there is no prize money.
Weather & Clothing
With temperatures as high as 35°C / 95°F and a hilly, desert route offering very little shade, the Petra Desert Marathon is an arduous race.
It is recommended that participants run in light-weight, light-coloured clothing.
A t-shirt offers better protection from heat stroke than a sleeveless shirt, but it is of course an personal choice. In all cases, we highly recommend the use of sunscreen with high protection and a cap.
There are no clothing restrictions, so women and men alike can run in shorts, tights, tank tops etc.
All runners have 7 hours to complete the race. Runners still on the route after the time limit will be picked up by a race official or medical car and driven back to the finish area.
Five hours after the start, however, the route closes at the 31km mark (10km mark for the half marathon) meaning that runners who haven’t passed this point at 11:30 will not be allowed to finish the race.
The Petra Desert Marathon features a classic 42.195 km Marathon and a Half Marathon. The distances are colour-coded – marathon is black and half marathon red.
At the race briefing the day before the race, runners are permitted to change distance. Please note that change of distance is not allowed on race day.
Drink stations serving water are situated along the route. Selected stations also serve energy drinks and bananas.
The Petra Desert Marathon is a hilly course with an ascent of roughly 1,200m and a descent of 1,100m.
A team of specialised doctors from Denmark and paramedics from Jordan will supervise the marathon and assist in case of injury or exhaustion. The medical team has undisputed authority to exclude runners who, according to the doctors’ judgment, should not continue running if there is a serious health risk to the runner. The medical team will be patrolling the route and be situated in the finish area and on strategic points of the route.
Runners who wish to drop out of the marathon should go to the nearest drinks station and wait for a medic or race official car. If it is not practical to go to a drink station, simply wait at the side of the road. We encourage all participants to look out for each other and report to the officials or medical team if you see an injured runner on the route. All decisions made by the medical team are final.
Personal belongings can be dropped off at the Visitors Centre and will be brought to the finish area. Any personal belongings you want available at the finish area should be packed in a bag or backpack and clearly marked with your name and start number. The bag must be handed over to the race officials at Petra Visitors Centre before 5:30 on race day morning.
The walk from the Visitors Centre to the start line can be chilly and a light jacket or sweater is recommended for the walk. This jacket or sweater can be dropped at the start line and will be brought to the finish area. Again we ask you to clearly mark all your belongings with name and start number.
The Petra Desert Marathon organisers cannot be held responsible for any lost or damaged items or valuables.
It is possible to have personal supplies delivered to selected drinks stations. Marathon runners can get personal supplies at four stations and half marathon runners at one station.
The personal supplies can be food, drink, sunscreen or other personal necessities.
Personal supplies must be handed over to the race officials at the race briefing the day before the race – remember to clearly mark your supplies with your start number and the number of the drinks station you want it deposited at.
Personal supplies deposited at the drinks stations will not be returned.
English-speaking race officials are in charge of setting up the route as well as controlling the logistics on race day. They will be patrolling the route and guiding on the most crucial places on the course. Assisting guides will also be placed on the route to show directions. All decisions made by the race official team are final.
From the start line in the Street of Facades, the route goes through the ancient city of Petra and right away you will find yourself surrounded with tombs, caves and monasteries carved in the mountainsides.
A 2km uphill section on paved road leads runners out of the Petra Archaeological Park boundaries and via the main road towards the desert on hilly tarmac road.
After 6 kilometres, the route leaves the asphalt road and continues into the desert. Half marathon runners take the direct way to the river bed gorge “Siq Al Bard” while marathon runners have to do a loop around the hill top “Al Musirh”. Leaving Siq al Bard at Little Petra, the route is back on the tarmac road heading towards the village of Ammarine
Just before the village half marathon runners continue straight through the village while marathon runners turn left on the road leading to Wadi Araba to do a 8km back tracking stretch running past incredible rock formations that only few tourists visit.
When passing the 30km mark, full marathon runners find themselves back at Ammarine village and merge again with the half marathon course. From here, the route goes uphill to a mountain ridge for the next 5 kilometres, but the strenuous efforts are rewarded with an astonishing view over most of the marathon route, the mountains covering Petra and on clear days even Israel can be seen. On this mountain ridge the surface becomes gravel for the next 3 kilometres.
The final 4 kilometres are steep downhill running on paved roads towards the finish line.
Kilometre signs can be found along the entire route. Owing to the conditions, however, they may be placed +/- some metres from the exact point. The kilometre signs are therefore only for orientation and runners shouldn’t calculate speed based on the signs.
Note that there won’t be any toilets along the course, which means that there are toilets everywhere! Toilet paper is available at all drinks stations.
The route is not closed off to traffic, but traffic police guards all entries to the route to warn drivers and ask them to slow down. Traffic is not heavy on these roads, but do keep an eye out for cars and trucks while running on paved roads.
Rules and regulations
If you decide to change distance during the race, ie. if a half marathon runner decides to follow the marathon route instead of the half marathon route, he or she will receive a marathon medal but not an official time. The race result will read FNT (finished no time). The same applies for a marathon runner who changes distances during the race. All runners who change distances before race day will be registered accordingly and receive an official time.
The top three male and female finishers of all distances are the first three to physically cross the finish line regardless of their net time.
The finish line is located near the Petra Visitor Centre within walking distance of the Mövenpick Resort and Candles, Edom and Petra Moon hotels.
All runners must meet at the Petra Visitor Centre from where we walk the 2.5 kilometers through the Siq and past the Treasury to the start line at the Street of Facades.
All runners who complete the marathon or half marathon within the time limit will receive a medal after crossing the finish line.
Water and a sandwich lunch pack are given to all participants. Checked-in bags can be picked up at the bag check-out area.
A tool for race directors to tell hundreds of runners apart, made of a plastic-like paper, which you pin on your body. They also serve as mementos and for others to monitor your progress.
All runners must wear the official bib number that will be handed out the day before the race. Marathon bibs are black while half marathon bibs are red. The bib number must be attached to the front of the torso and be visible during the entire race.
Supplies on the route
There will be water stations at approximately every 4 kilometres along the route. Some stations will also serve energy drinks and bananas. All stations provide bottled water. Marathon runners will be offered energy gel after 26km and 35km.
The route is run on a mixture of gravel and paved roads. The surface in the desert sections is sand with loose rocks.
Time taking and results
Timing is done with AMB Chip. The chip will be in the race pack that runners receive the day before the race. The chip must be attached around the ankle with the velcro strap that follows or in the shoe lace. The chip must be handed back to the timing staff at the finish line.
The roads are not closed for traffic. Although traffic is not heavy in the area, please be aware whenever running on asphalt roads. We advise you to run on the left side of the road, so you can see any vehicles coming towards you.
Please note that the marathon route has an out-and-back stretch totalling 18km. At the turn-around point of this stretch (9km out) marathon runners will receive a wrist band to prove that they went all the way out. The wrist band must be worn for the remainder of the race to the finish line. No wrist band = disqualification.
The wrist band applies to marathon runners only.