Among major upcoming sporting events, the gruelling Marathon des Sables sees super-fit men and women trek across the Sahara, the US Masters marks the first major tournament of the 2010 golfing season, and motorcycle engines rev at the start of the MotoGP season in Qatar.

The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race
April 4, 16:30 BST
London, UK

Saturday's match-up will be the 156th historic University Boat Race, and Cambridge's total wins lead Oxford by a slim margin of four. Squad members include two 2008 Olympians and medallists from the Commonwealth Rowing Championships, World Championships, US National Championships, World U23's, World University Championships. The event is covered by the BBC's domestic, American and World channels, the BBC and official race websites, the Eurosport network, Supersport in Africa, Spain's TVE, and RAI in Italy among others. The race can also be seen from Fulham FC's stadium, Bishops Park in Fulham, and at the Furnival Gardens in Hammersmith.

Endurance: 25th Marathon des Sables
April 2-12
Sahara Desert, Morocco

The Sand Marathon certainly has earned its reputation of being the toughest footrace on earth. Contestants must be almost entirely self-sufficient over the six-day, 254km (156mi) ultra marathon. Over 700 participants are expected to amass at this year's starting line, while families and curious onlookers can observe their progress via videos and interviews on the Marathon website.

Formula One: Malaysian Grand Prix
April 4
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Michael Schumacher could tie 1970s Formula One legend John MacDonald for the privilege of having won the most races at the Sepang circuit if he crosses the finish line first here. Tickets are 200 MYR / €44 on the hill (100 MYR without roof covering), main grandstand passes are in the region of 1,200 - 2,600 MYR / €265 - 575. The more expensive tickets include access to the accompanying Wyclef Jean / Fatboy Slim concert.

Golf: US Masters Tournament
April 8-11
Augusta, Georgia, USA

The 74th Masters Tournament is the first of four major PGA golf championship in 2010. Of those four, the Masters has the most stringent qualification requirements, and typically under 100 professionals and a few top amateurs take to the course. Those numbers comprise the elite players who managed to finish among the top 50 Official World Golf Rankings of 2009, added to which are select champions from previous Masters and majors, and the very best from other prestigious 2009 tournaments.

MotoGP: Qatar Grand Prix
April 11
Doha, Qatar

The first of eighteen MotoGPs in 2010 is also the only night race of the season, taking advantage of the Losail International Circuit's permanent outdoor lighting which went on to inspire a similar setup at Yas Marina nearby in Abu Dhabi. There are several new faces and new teams across the classes, the replacement of the 250cc class with 600cc Moto2 bikes. Concerning the top-level MotoGP race, Ducati's Casey Stoner has been in fine form at Losail over the last three years, consistently besting six-time MotoGP champ Valentino Rossi of Yamaha both to pole position and the finish line.

Extreme: Red Bull X Fighters World Tour
April 16
Mexico City, Mexico

The first stop-off in the six stage, six month tour, takes in Mexico City once again as top freestyle motocross maniacs pull tricks and stunts inside the Plaza de Toros. After that, the riders visit Giza, Egypt in May, Moscow in Russia in June, Madrid in Spain in July, London in the UK in August, before a month's rest and the final in Rome, Italy, where the World Tour Champion will be crowned. Stadium passes are $295 MXN ($24 / €17).

Basketball: NBA Playoffs
April 17 onwards
The NBA postseason starts on April 17th and between now and then, teams from the Eastern and Western conferences are jostling for the sixteen playoff places. Once the playoffs start, each matchup is a seven game series, so the date of the Championship Finals and indeed the grand final itself aren't possible to specify in advance. However, the two finalists typically settle the title by mid to late June. US broadcasting rights are split between ABC, ESPN and TNT, though of course the NBA TV network will also be covering the games.

Motor sports: Red Bull Air Race
April 17-18
Perth, Australia

The second Red Bull Air Race of the season stops off in Perth, Australia, flying over the Swan River with qualifying on April 17 and the racing itself on April 18.

Formula One: Chinese Grand Prix
April 18
Shanghai, China

This year's hopefuls in the driver and manufacturer championships will head to Shanghai for the fourth race in the 2010 Formula One calendar.

Intellectual: World Chess Championship 2010
April 21 - May 12
Sofia, Bulgaria

Two of the world's best chess players compete in a twelve-game match schedule for the WCC's €2 million prize. World number four Veselin Topalov, FIDE World Champion 2005-2006, goes head-to-head with number two and current reigning world champion Vishy Anand. There was considerable indecision regarding the location of Topalov's qualification match, in which he beat world number three Vladimir Kraminik who was the World Champion of the then rival PCA organisation. The WCC 2010 games will be broadcast live from the competition's official website.

Sailing: Eastern Mediterranean Yacht Rally
April 23 - June 28
Istanbul, Turkey

The aim of the amateur EMYR is to cover 1585 nautical miles (1825mi / 2940km) over the course of 67 days, taking in Northern Cyprus, Syria, the Lebanon, Egypt, on the way from Turkey's capital Istanbul before finishing in Herzliya in Israel. Twenty-four ports in total make up the six country course, which also includes twelve world heritage sites.

Tennis: Fed Cup Semifinals
April 24-25
Rome, Italy and Brimingham, USA

The Italian and WTA number 11 Flavia Pennetta will be joined by Sara Errani, Francesca Schiavone, and Roberta Vinci in hosting the Czech Republic's WTA Doubles number 8 Kveta Peschke and her compatriots Iveta Benešová, Petra Kvitová, and Lucie Šafárová at the Stadio Nicola Pietrangeli. Meanwhile, WTA joint number one Liezel Huber of the USA will be playing with Christina McHale, Melanie Oudin, and Bethanie Mattek-Sands in Birmingham, Alabama against the Russian ladies' team of Svetlana Kuznetsova, Vera Zvonareva, Nadia Petrova and Anna Chakvetadze.

Endurance: Ironman South Africa
April 25
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

The only event in the Ironman 2010 series to take place on the African continent, Ironman South Africa represents the only regional opportunity for African triathlon enthusiasts to secure a place at October's World Championships in Hawaii. 1,855 competitors have been registered for the race, which starts with a 2.4mi / 3.8km swim in Nelson Mandela Bay, a 112mi / 180km cycle west past the Airport to Sea View and back again along the coastal Marine Drive, before finishing off with a 26.2mi / 42.2km three lap fast and flat run in and near the Nelson Mandela University grounds.

MotoGP: Japanese Grand Prix
April 25
Motegi, Japan

The Twin Ring Motegi track, so called because it incorporates both a speedway circuit and a road course within its bounds, is host to only the second race of the 2010 MotoGP season on April 25. Though its sharp turns and short straights are not universally popular with riders, they can approach 350kmh down its long straight. For spectators planning to watch in person, there are six grandstands, and standard three day passes cost between €97/$130 and €168/$226 each, depending on grandstand location and comfort.

Intellectual: World Sudoku Championship
April 29 - May 2
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Now in its fifth year, competitors at the World Sudoku Championship are chosen to represent their country by their nationally approved World Puzzle Federation organization, listed on the World Puzzle website. Up to six individuals and one three-person team can be sent. Registration closes on April 5: fees of $420 (€310) for competitors and $700 (€520) for guests include accommodation in the official Championship hotel.

Cricket: ICC World Twenty20
April 30 - May 16
Various locations, West Indies

Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, and Ireland join the world's nine top seeded teams on the West Indian islands of Barbados, Guyana, and St Lucia, and St.Kitts & Nevis to contest the Twenty20 title over a series of short matches. After a week of warm-up games, the Super 8s commence the tournament's knock-out stage from May 6 onwards, building up to the climactic semi finals on May 13 and then the final on May 17. Sky Sports and the BBC cover the competition in the UK and Ireland, Eurosport in mainland Europe, ESPN in Asia and India, while Fox and Sky also have Australasia. Canadian and Afghan viewers can catch the matches on ATN - distinct yet similarly titled broadcasting companies.