Emirati's 2,000-km marathon from Abu Dhabi to Makkah to end today
Dubai - Dr Suwaidi began the impressive trek from the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi on February 1.
On the 27th day of his 2,070-km challenge to run from Abu Dhabi to the Makkah, Emirati ultra-marathoner Dr Khaled Jamal Al Suwaidi was suffering from four severe injuries in his body. He is planning to finish the run today with a 150-km non-stop run to reach the holy city.
On Wednesday, the 35-year-old academic specialising in international relations at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research told Khaleej Times that his left leg is fractured and he is experiencing extreme pain on his left knee cap. "I might also have a broken rib," he said.
However, none of the injuries have slowed him down. Dr Suwaidi began the impressive trek from the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi on February 1 and aims to complete it this weekend. With less than 200km left in his run, Dr Suwaidi is very close to completing the very tough ultramarathon.
He begins his run at 5 am every morning, and finishes at 5.50pm.
Till date, Dr Suwaidi has been running an average of 55-70km per day.
Speaking to Khaleej Times from a spot 200km away from Makkah called Dhalm, Dr Suwaidi said: "To be honest, it has been everything that I had practised. I began my journey from the Sheikh Zayed Mosque with great optimism, and I carried the inspiration from all of our role model, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan." Speaking about how he runs with his injuries, Dr Suwaidi said: "First of all, the body has a natural way of numbing the pain.
When the body understands it is going to run nonetheless, there are no more barriers left."
His reasons behind this momentous challenge are as meaningful as his determination and drive. He hopes to inspire the youth of the UAE to leave their comfort zone and achieve their potential. The run honours the ties between the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and the noble role of the two countries in defending security, peace and stability in the Gulf and the whole Arab World.
He said running in Saudi Arabia has been an incredible experience, as "Saudis are the nicest people I have ever met in my life". Dr Suwaidi said the support from the Kingdom has been great. "The brotherly relationship between Saudi and the UAE brings peace to the Arab world as a whole. I want to thank both countries for what they have done," he said.
"I have been running 70km per day in the last eight days. My earlier aim was to do 55km per day. However, I was determined to get out of my comfort zone. That is the only way we discover ourselves in terms of running. My advice to people is to go through all barriers of life," he added.
Reading the body for this feat
Dr Suwaidi said his mind is mentally armoured to accept everything that his body is going through. "There is no way an individual can try to complete if he is not mentally prepared to do it," he explained. Physically, Dr Suwaidi weighs 71kg, with six per cent body fat. "Entering different terrains, and not having mobile services for seven to eight days is very challenging," added Dr Suwaidi.
Dr Khaled used to weigh 129kg three years ago. Doctors told him that he is pre-diabetic and his only hope would be a drastic change towards a health-conscious lifestyle. "My battle with obesity took two years. In that time, I lost more than 53kg by experimenting to find the best types of food and exercise for my body. It instilled in me a never-say-die attitude - I learned to not only set goals but achieve them," added Suwaidi.