The Petra Desert Marathon features two distances:
Full marathon - 42.195km/26.2mi
Half marathon - 21.1km/13.1mi
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 2 km uphill section on a 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 hilltop “Al Musirh.” Leaving Siq al Bard at Little Petra, the route goes back on the tarmac road heading towards the village of Ammarine.
Half-marathon runners continue straight through the village while marathon runners, just before the village, turn left on the road leading to Wadi Araba to do a 8 km back-tracking stretch that will take you past incredible rock formations that only a few tourists visit.
When passing the 30 km 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 km.
The final 4 km is steep downhill running on paved roads towards the finish line.
Kilometer signs can be found along the entire route. Owing to the conditions, however, they may be placed +/- some meters from the exact point. The kilometer 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 drink stations. Please respect the nature and leave no trace behind - you can deposit used toilet paper in the disposal bins at the drink 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.
For the start, 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. The race starts at 6:30AM, which means runners need to meet at the Visitor Center at 5:15.
The finish line is located near the Petra Visitor Centre within walking distance of the Mövenpick Resort, Petra Palace, Petra Guest House, and Edom hotels.
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.
The route is run on a mixture of gravel and paved roads. The surface in the desert sections is sand with loose rocks.
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 wristband to prove that they went all the way out. The wristband must be worn for the remainder of the race to the finish line. No wristband = disqualification.
The wristband applies to marathon runners only.