Two expats in UAE run for 48 hours for sick kids

Supplied photo
Supplied photo

Dubai - Dr Haitham Solh and Ahmed Ali started running and jogging for four miles, every four hours — and they would keep doing it until they complete 48 hours.

By Saman Haziq

Published: Sat 13 Mar 2021, 12:13 AM

Last updated: Sat 13 Mar 2021, 9:06 AM

Two runners in Dubai have taken up a 48-hour fitness challenge — not only to push their limits, but to raise funds for sick children whose families cannot afford their medical treatments.

Lebanese expat Dr Haitham Solh and UK national Ahmed Ali on Thursday started running and jogging for four miles, every four hours — and they would keep doing it until they complete 48 hours. The challenge­, which they called 4X4X48, is expected to end this morning.

The feat was similar to one undertaken by American athlete and motivational speaker David Goggins last year. “Goggins is a truly inspirational figure who changed his life through fitness and keeps doing an array of fitness activities to keep himself and his followers fit and motivated to handle challenges of life. It was his challenge that motivated us,” Dr Solh said.

“Since we also wanted to bring in the charity aspect along with fitness, we partnered with Al Jalila Foundation to raise funds for it’s Farah programme, which funds life-saving treatments for children suffering from heart disease, cancer and other chronic illnesses.”

The duo are aiming to raise Dh5,000 for the charity and said they had reached 70 per cent of their target by the end of day one of their run.

“We are undertaking 12 runs over a period of 48 hours. These will be equal to 78km — or almost two marathons. We have decided to donate $1 for every kilometre we run. We are confident that with the support of the community we can reach our target,” added Dr Solh, a math professor who became a fitness buff after suffering a heart attack a couple of years ago. He now works out six days a week.

Ali, who is originally from Egypt, has always been an avid runner. Over the years, he has managed to turn his passion for sports into helping others. With a soft spot for children, he has previously raised thousands for Al Jalila Foundation’s Farah initiative by running marathons.

“While we did some runs individually near our homes late at night at 2am, we did most of them together,” Ali said. “We did four legs on Friday; six runs on Friday and two on Saturday morning. Many of our well-wishers and runners from different groups also joined us to cheer us up. This is not a race so we do not have to worry about our pace…Anything is possible if you put your head to it. It just takes willpower and dedication…and we wanted to prove that through this challenge.”

The duo did their 10am and 2pm runs in their respective gyms while recording the time and distance they covered.

“It is important to challenge ourselves in order to grow...We also wanted to remind people through our little act of charity that it is important to think about others and help touch lives to make this world a better place to live in,” Dr Solh said.

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