Abu Dhabi: An Emirati runner will attempt to run from Fujairah to Abu Dhabi early next month all in the name of a good cause — raising awareness among people about leading a healthier lifestyle and fighting cancer.
Dr Khalid Al Suwaidi, 34, will cover more than 300 kilometres to complete his journey, which he plans to do in less than four days. If completed successfully, he will become the first Emirati to run non-stop from Fujairah to Abu Dhabi. The planned date for the run is on February 3, with the complete route to be announced on January 17.
Al Suwaidi’s run is being supported by Rahma, an organisation that is dedicated to helping people with cancer, with the group looking to raise funds through sponsors and individuals for Al Suwaidi’s run. The money raised from the run will be used to continue Rahma’s support for people with cancer.
“The goal for doing this ultramarathon is to raise awareness about cancer, and it’s great that I get the opportunity to do this with a great organisation like Rahma, which does so much much good work when it comes to helping people with cancer and raising awareness within the community about the subject,” Al Suwaidi said, highlighting his own personal experience with his father — well-known academic and director-general of the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies Dr Jamal Sanad Al Suwaidi — who survived and successfully beat cancer.
“I would also like to highlight the necessity to promote a healthy lifestyle that includes physical activity and diet… Being active and health conscious should be one of the pillars of our everyday lives,” he added, citing his own example of shedding 52 kilos over the last five years.
Al Suwaidi talked about his training and preparation for the run, explaining how he had already run over 2,700km since June last year in a number of terrains.
“I’ve trained extremely well in order to give myself the best chance possible to complete the run from Fujairah to Abu Dhabi. I completed over 1,400km of training since October 18, and over 2,700 km of training since June 20.
“I have become the first Emirati to run over 175km [at a stretch] on Jebel Hafeet and the first Emirati to run another 50km on Jebel Hafeet on the same day. I had completed 90km in 24 hours on three occasions as well as having 27 hours of training per week,” he added, highlighting how ready he was to complete his run.
Al Suwaidi said that his training also included running in rough weather conditions to prepare him for any adverse weather that may occur during his run.
“I spent a week in Jebel Hafeet when it was raining, and I ran 175km on that mountain in six days with very bad weather conditions. I was running with winds [blowing] almost 125km an hour in my face,” he said.
“I also run in the desert between 3am and 8am, [these are] my night runs. In the last two weeks, I have done a lot of these runs where I made sure there was a lot of fog, sandstorms, and cold temperatures... I put myself in that position to face these weather challenges,” he added.
“It’s been a lot of running — running in the mountain, running in the desert, and running in different hours of the day. I am doing all of this to get my body accustomed to running at all hours of the day,” he said.
For the Fujairah-Abu Dhabi run itself, Al Suwaidi said that he has chalked out a strategy, which includes rest stops every 50km.
“It’s all about listening to your body, my goal is to rest for no longer than 90 minutes every 50km, but having said that, the rest intervals will depend on my progress. I have set a target for myself and have a goal to reach Abu Dhabi in a certain amount of time, so if I am exceeding expectations I can rest a little longer, and if I am behind time, then it will also mean I will rest a little bit shorter,” he said.
A team will also be following him along the way in a trailer, he added, providing him with support and medical help should he sustain any injuries.
Al Suwaidi also spoke about the huge amounts of calories he will be burning during the run, and how he would have to replenish himself with at least 9,000 calories a day while running.
“I will be burning around 55,000 calories during my run, and I am hoping to consume up to 30,000 calories,” he said. “Now with my training, I currently consume around 3,000 calories a day, so this means I’m going to have to consume around 9,000 calories a day when I do the run, and that’s going to be difficult but it’s something that I will have to do.”
Al Suwaidi said he was confident about completing the run, but admitted he wasn’t taking anything for granted.
“I am confident, but at the same time I have to respect the distance I will be running. It’s good to have confidence but I always put my ego on the side when I am running such distances because anything can happen.”