Emirati to run 327km from Fujairah to Abu Dhabi for charity
After Dr Khaled Al Suwaidi completes his run on February 6, he hopes to speak in schools across the country to raise awareness about obesity and to inspire students to reach their fullest potential. - Supplied photo
Abu Dhabi - After losing almost 60 kgs of his body weight, Dr Al Suwaidi decided to give himself a new challenge.
By Jasmine Al Kuttab
Published: Mon 22 Jan 2018, 3:00 PM
Last updated: Mon 22 Jan 2018, 5:45 PM
Three years ago, Dr Khaled Al Suwaidi was almost 130 kilograms heavy and battling severe health issues.
Today, the 34-year-old is preparing to become the first Emirati to run 327 kilometers from Fujairah to Abu Dhabi, to support cancer sufferers and to help inspire youth. "A lot of people have great ideas, but I didn't want to be the person who has a great idea, a great dream, and just go to my grave with it," Dr Al Suwaidi told Khaleej Times.
"Around three years ago, I was at 128 kgs, obese and borderline diabetic," recalled the father of two.
The executive director at Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research said he decided to alter his life around, change his lifestyle, get into shape and above all, ensure to never neglect his health again. "It was either going all in or not - there is no 50/50 in this," said Dr Al Suwaidi, who is also the first Emirati to run the 1,200-metre-high Jebel Hafeet up-and-down twice in one day, just last month.
After losing almost 60 kgs of his body weight, Dr Al Suwaidi decided to give himself a new challenge to change his outlook towards life. "I was thinking of the most difficult challenges that humans can endure, and looked at ultra-running, but it was rare to find over 300km runs.
"It became a dream of mine to achieve this. But I also wanted to do something to give back to the community."
Dr Al Suwaidi decided to put on his running shoes and train vigorously to support the Rahma Cancer Patient Care Society, which helps patients receive treatment when their insurance cannot cover the cost. "My father, Dr Jamal Al Suwaidi, is a cancer survivour and I witnessed his battle with cancer.
"I compared a long distance run to battling cancer, and there is only one way out - which is going forward," added Dr Al Suwaidi, who has run 2,700 km since June. "This run is going to try to defeat me; it's going to try to break me in every single step and the same with cancer - if you are not strong and willing to defeat it, it will defeat you."
He stressed that as important as it is to raise money for cancer charity, it is also crucial to help inspire the youth to lead a healthier lifestyle.
"Today's young generation is different from the generation that I grew up in. They can sit at home and order everything online, including their food, and not have to take a single step. This is a great worry.
"It's important that our youth understand that if they can't take care of themselves first, they can't take care of others."
After Dr Al Suwaidi completes his run, he hopes to speak in schools across the country, to raise awareness about obesity and to inspire students to reach their fullest potential. "I just want to let them know that whatever they want to do in life, they can do it, if they simply put their mind to it. I don't want people to experience what I went though."
On February 3, Dr Al Suwaidi will begin his run at 6am from Fujairah Port. He expected to arrive at Abu Dhabi Port on February 6. He will burn a whopping 40,000-50,000 calories, but is planning to consume 30,000 calories by drinking shakes and eating water-retention fruits to help him stay hydrated.
"The run will take me between 60-70 hours. I might sleep for just three hours in those three days.
"I know it's not going to be easy and I'm sure that a lot of things will happen to my mind and body; there will be a lot of pain and suffering, but I'm a firm believer that I will come out as a different person."