Math professor to run 30km as tribute to Dubai Fitness Challenge 30X30

Photos by Shihab/Khaleej Times
Photos by Shihab/Khaleej Times

Dubai - Although Haitham ran around 7km on Friday, he was more excited about his grand finale plan to end Dubai Fitness Challenge (DFC) with a special 30km run.



By Saman Haziq

Published: Fri 27 Nov 2020, 9:54 PM

Last updated: Fri 27 Nov 2020, 9:56 PM

Math professor and fitness buff Haitham Solh got into fitness a couple of years ago after suffering a heart attack.

Although Haitham ran around 7km on Friday, he was more excited about his grand finale plan to end Dubai Fitness Challenge (DFC) with a special 30km run he has planned with 30 runners from different running communities.

“As a tribute to the DFC that has kept us all together, happy and motivated to take care of ourselves, I have planned this special finale 30km run with 30 fellow runners from the different running communities which will also be my maiden 30km run as I have never run that distance ever. I will be pushing myself to set a new personal record on the last day of the DFC. This will be my 30 for the 30X30 challenge,” Haitham told Khaleej Times.

To abide by the Covid precautions, Haitham has divided the group of 30 into three groups of 10 runners each with different fitness levels — fast, average and easy.

Haitham and his team of runners will be starting their run from Dubai Design District at 4am on Saturday and will make a loop by running all the way to Burj Al Arab via the Dubai Canal and Kites Beach. “We will let easy pace runners start first and these will be followed by average and fast-paced runners so that we all finish at somewhat the same time. We will have a morning prayer break at 5.30 or 6am near the Burj Al Arab and then we will return,” he said.

“It is not a race, but an enjoyable experience to give out a message that nothing is impossible. This is what living in the UAE and being with fitness-minded people has taught me. If you put your head into something, you will achieve it,” he said.

Talking about his journey to becoming a fitness buff, Haitham said: “I was 120kg when I had a heart attack. What shook me was that the doctor told me that you are in your 30s and yet your heart looks like that of a 50-year-old person. This made me realise what I was doing to myself. I have two young kids and I want to see them grow, graduate and get married. I want to be there for them, but most importantly, I want to be a role model,” he said.

Haitham thanked fitness initiatives and running communities in Dubai for helping him shed more than 20kgs, bringing his weight down to 96kg. “The support and motivation of the sports communities in Dubai have been crucial in bringing about this drastic change in my lifestyle,” he said.

saman@khaleejtimes.com


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