UAE: Irish expat to run 7 marathons in 7 days for kids of determination

Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on March 27, 2021
Supplied photo

Murphy, who aims to cover 42km every day, has taken up the challenge hoping to help "build more inclusive communities for children of determination".

Irish expat Hollie Murphy is running seven marathons across seven emirates in seven days to help improve the lives of people of determination.

Murphy, who aims to cover 42km every day, has taken up the challenge hoping to help “build more inclusive communities for children of determination”. She started with a scenic run in Abu Dhabi on Saturday and would move to other emirates in the coming days, until the final leg in Dubai on April 2.

“The purpose of the marathon is to create more awareness around the community, not just in Dubai and Abu Dhabi but across all emirates for children with special needs. I am running to make people much more inclusive and more unified, so that people of determination can enjoy equality in sports, health and fitness,” said the 34-year-old expat, who came to Dubai 12 years ago.

Murphy used to teach physical education at a Dubai school and during that time, she felt ‘uncomfortable’ whenever she saw kids of determination left out of sports.

“I think they are very capable once they are given the right support and the platform. They can absolutely do anything they want to do and I’ve seen it for myself,” she said.

Aside from teaching, Murphy has also been an inclusion advocate, running an after-school club and volunteer programmes across the UAE.

Feeling strongly for the cause, she ended up resigning from her school job to focus full-time on ‘Heroes of Hope’, a registered non-profit organisation she built. The group, at its core, believes that sports is meant for all and thus aims to build more inclusive communities for children.

“Even as a teacher, I had always chosen to train within that area, to be working with and educating people with additional needs. I believe that sports is for everybody and we need to make sure that we build a platform so that such children are also included in these communities and get equal opportunities.”

Funds she will raise from her marathons will go to Heroes of Hope and Al Jalila Foundation. On Saturday, she took a scenic route in Abu Dhabi. “I started from Desert Shield Fitness, ran past the terminal, then crossed the Corniche and the iconic flag, went past the Founder’s Memorial and Emirates Palace,” she told Khaleej Times. Today, she will tackle Fujairah, to be followed by Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, Ajman, Sharjah and, lastly, Dubai.

Though she is running solo for the event in line with Covid safety measures, she is followed by a small support team to ensure things go smoothly for her during the marathons.

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