Operation Oasis



We are a two-person team who love nothing more than pushing themselves to the very limits of personal endurance. Our home? The beautiful desert regions of western Saudi Arabia. Our passion? Between us, we dabble in triathlons, climbing, martial arts, mountaineering and ultra-marathons.

Day-to-day life in a hot, arid place like Saudi Arabia can be uncomfortable. Running can be punishing. From personal experience, we know that fluids are lost extremely quickly, the throat becomes raw from breathing dust, and the risk of dizziness, disorientation and heat stroke is very real. Thirty minutes of running in the heat is all it takes. We avoid such problems by trudging through the desert with at least 1.5 litres of water on our backs. On event days, we rejoice at the sight of the finish line, where cool containers of iced water are waiting for us to enjoy and pour on our sweaty heads.

Water. We really take it for granted. We gasp for water after a mere thirty minutes in the desert. Yet, in today’s world, the daily reality is that 1 in 9 people lack access to safe water. 1 in 3 people lack access to a toilet. In fact, more people have a mobile phone than a toilet. With this knowledge in mind, an idea was born.

In the name of water, we take on the Kingdom’s first ever multi-day Ultramarathon - the Hejaz Overload (expertly organized by Mr. Fabrice Laborie, race director of the Hejaz Ultra trail running association). Starting on the 23rd November, we will cover 136 km (~ 85 miles) over Arabian Desert dunes over the course of 3 days. We know we’ll suffer for these 3 days. But we also know we’ll have water. We just can’t imagine not having access to water on a daily basis. Yet for millions of people over the world, this is reality.

Who are we supporting?

The fully transparent, non-profit organization Water.org (https://water.org). These guys provide families with access to clean water through charity and sustainable financial solutions. For 60 US dollars, one family in a developing nation gets access to clean water and sanitation. With your help, we want to provide clean water to a target of ten families. But of course, the more we can help, the better.

Thank you! And whilst you think it over, we’re going for a run.

John Gittings and Ivan Gromicho

37 supporters
Maria Goodwin — $14.00
Anonymous — $30.00
Anna & Peter Rautek — $50.00
Great idea and amazing project!
Marleni Hill — $50.00
Truly inspirational John and Ivan. My best wishes for both of you. May our paths crossed again.

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