ALULA: The Royal Commission for AlUla, in partnership with the Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation and Federation Equestre Internationale, will welcome 200 of the world’s best endurance riders for the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup 2023.
The fourth edition of the 120 km endurance race will take place around the ancient desert city on March 4.
The route for the 2023 edition, one of the marquee sporting events on the AlUla calendar, will showcase the sweeping landscapes and ancient history of the destination. Endurance riders from over 40 countries have signed up to participate, highlighting the global nature of the event.
Federico Ferber, of Uruguay, winner of the 2022 race, will return to defend his crown, while compatriot Andres Rivero will hope to go one better after finishing runner-up last year.
Frenchwoman Margot Chazel, who finished third, will lead a strong representation of female riders alongside compatriot Camille Coulomb in a field that has attracted the world’s best.
Phillip Jones, RCU chief tourism officer, said: “The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup is one of the most established events on the AlUla calendar, and we believe AlUla provides the perfect setting for such a world-class field and prestigious event. Equestrian has a long and storied tradition in the region, and this event provides an integral connection from that heritage through to the modern day.”
The event also serves as an important pathway for development and participation for the local community.
Four locally based riders will represent AlUla in the race, wearing their official AlUla uniforms and bridles, while over 40 locals will be engaged in stewarding and vet assistance roles, after being shortlisted from a group of over 80 youths who had undergone a training program in collaboration with the Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation.
Underscoring the event’s commitment to gender equality, 30 percent of the participants in the training program were female.
“At AlUla we have the wonderful facilities, and the history, and events such as this combine to show that we are a hub of equestrian excellence. The event enables us to provide a pathway to participation both for local endurance riders and also for individuals from the area who are looking to pursue a career or become involved in equestrian support,” added Jones.
“We look forward to welcoming a world-class field that includes some of the best endurance competitors from the region and around the world.”
The international competition CE12 will be held over the weekend of March 3-4 at a purpose-built desert arena set among the extraordinary landscapes of the Equestrian Village, in close proximity to Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hegra.