Muscat – January 18th 2017: BP Oman has targeted a passionate sporting audience by becoming an official sponsor of the 2017 Al Mouj Muscat Marathon which already has broken records by attracting more runners than ever before. Teaming up with organisers Oman Sail and Muscat Road Runners, BP Oman have signed up as backers of the new look marathon as part of a shared vision to directly impact Oman’s local economy by establishing the Sultanate as the region’s leading sports tourism destination.

With less than 10 day to go to race day (27th January), a massive 1300 runners from 74 countries have registered their entries, signifying a major status upgrade of the six-year old event and highlighting Oman’s growing appeal as a popular destination for sports tourists.

“We are delighted to welcome BP Oman as an official sponsor of Al Mouj Muscat Marathon 2017, a step that stems from our shared vision to contribute to the Sultanate economy through sports tourism. Sports tourism is the fastest growing tourism sector and with Oman’s unique climate, terrain, and natural resources, we are ideally placed to maximise on this great potential to welcome new audiences and firmly position Oman as the ideal destination for sports,” said David Graham, Oman Sail CEO.

BP Oman and Oman Sail have been developing initiatives together since 2015 when they first created the pioneering BP Young Leaders Programme and their participation in the Al Mouj Muscat Marathon will be a similar all-embracing experience. To encourage healthy lifestyle internally, ten of the runners will be staff members of the oil and gas production giant.

Furthermore, as part of BP Oman’s investment in developing local capacities, they will set up a special exhibition called the “BP Souk” in the race village dedicated to four SMEs (small to medium enterprises). This will be geared to enriching new visitor’s experiences of Oman and enable these local enterprises to showcase products and services, Shabib Al Mamari, BP Oman’s Communications and External Affairs Manager explained.

“We are delighted and proud to become official sponsors of the Al Mouj Muscat Marathon which is part of our ongoing commitment to serve and empower local Omani capacities,” he said.

“Not only does this opportunity allow us to give greater support to vital SMEs but in supporting the development of upcoming entrepreneurs in the Sultanate, it also helps to drive Oman towards a self-sufficient and progressive future.”

The progress in the structure of the marathon, strengthening its organisation, were designed to increase its economic impact by scaling up the numbers of in-bound sports tourists with all the bonuses they bring to bear and employing SMEs in events operations. In addition to small enterprises, a number of pioneering organisations joined forces to maximise the potential of the event including Oman Air, Muscat Municipality, Muscat Festival, Horizon Fitness, Tanuf and Strabag.