Running the Desert

Spotlight on Ultra Desert Racing

The Ultra Desert racing series is designed for the type of deserts we have – The Judean Desert, the Arava region, the Negev Desert, and of course, the Eilat Mountains. The special nature of the deserts in Israel is intriguing and interesting.

Our concept of desert racing is recognized by international organizations, led by ITRA. The trails are assigned an international ranking based on a number of parameters:

  • The distance of the run
  • The ratio between the distance of the trails and the distance of the roads
  • The elevation gain (the most important parameter) – The greater the elevation gain, the more points the race is assigned because of greater difficulty.
  • The number of stations: no more than one station every 15 km or so
  • Marking of problematic segments

The trails, showing the whole route, must be downloaded onto a suitable watch.

Our race on 20th December and the last race that was held on 5th March 2021 were awarded good ITRA points for these parameters. This is the idea: make it as difficult as possible. Absolutely essential!! We use professional running watches as well as mobile phones to map out the route.

The Judean Desert is a localized desert (in a rain shadow) and has secondary geographical areas, such as the Haetekim Cliff, the eastern fringe, and the desert level. This huge “pit” between the Judean Mountains and the red mountains and, in the middle of it, the Dead Sea, is a unique area with some of the steepest slopes in the world. Monasteries, pits, and outlooks over the Dead Sea Valley and the red mountains complete the experience. The Dead Sea and the watershed area will be the start-off points that will allow us to ascend to between 200 and 500-600+ m above sea level. The Judean Desert racing series will be 8 and 11 ITRA points (per the topographic map values).

The Negev and the Arava belong to the World Desert Belt and attract a lot of interest from abroad due to the three craters at its center. The Arava, a local savannah that is 10-20 m high and the Negev Mountain that has an average height of above 700 m in the Mitzpe Ramon area and over 1,000 m on Mount Ramon will be the start-off points for gaining elevation… The Negev and Arava racing series will be 14–18 ITRA points (per the topographic map values).

From the Eilat Mountains, we have a striking view of the mountains of Mashar and the bedrock. Two of the high mountains are named after King Hezekiah and King Solomon. The summit of Mount Neshaf is almost 900 m above sea level, while the height of the southern Arava is about 70-80 m above sea level and, from them, we will gain elevation. The Eilat Mountain racing series will be 17–19 ITRA points (per the topographic map values).

We plan to hold about 3 regular international races a year that are recognized by ITRA and are a unique attraction for international athletes.

The changing nature of the trails requires that the runners exercise caution, responsibility, and a lot of concentration to ensure their safety. The personal responsibility placed on the runners is significant. The ability to find the balance between fatigue and making decisions concerning safety is important. We recommend to take out personal insurance that covers this type of activity.

A little about us – Ultra Desert, part of the Platinum Group

The Platinum Group is a long-standing production company that engages in various fields in Israel and abroad. It has extensive experience organizing events, activities, and competitions. The company has a broad infrastructure that includes warehouses containing field equipment, jeeps and carts, lighting, amplification, shading and … everything needed to provide a high level of service first hand.

Our professional experience includes hundreds of diverse activities, a variety of competitions, and complicated productions that require an infrastructure and a direct knowledge of all parts of the country and of dozens of destinations abroad.

The company operates a climbing, abseiling, and rescue school. It organizes jeep tours, trips to many destinations in the world, rallies, and navigation for SUVs and off-road bikes. It organizes the Israel Championship for Extreme Routes, trekking in South America, the Far East, Eastern Turkey, the Sinai Desert, and Morocco, diving trips in Israel and in the Sinai Desert, adventure tours, and more.

This knowledge, together with the company’s vision, translates into the Ultra Desert racing series.

The racing series is full of surprises and is creative and special.

The staff

We are a group of hikers, competitive runners, event producers, and nature lovers.

We decided to make nature accessible to the community of runners in Israel and give them the opportunity to leave behind the races in the center of the country and to be exposed to the beauty, tranquility, and magic of the desert.