The premier running club in the nation’s capital recently hosted the 2015 edition of Abu Dhabi Striders Marathon on 9 February at Zayed Sports City. Including a full marathon, a 21.1k and a 10k race, runners from over 20 countries and seven continents participated in the event.
The event also featured runners from the “Triple 7 Quest”, a 36 person strong group of runners who are aiming to complete seven official marathons on seven continents in just seven days!
The Abu Dhabi race served as the Asian leg of the Triple 7 Quest challenge, which started in Melbourne on 8 February. After the first race, runners caught the overnight flight arriving into Abu Dhabi on the morning of 9 February. Following the race at Zayed Sports City, runners were escorted back to the airport where they travelled on to Paris. Their total time in the city was only 19 hours! The other cities on the docket include Tunis, New York and Chile, with the final leg taking place in Antarctica on 14 February.
Of the 36 runners participating in the Triple 7 Quest, there are 10 runners from the UAE and five from Qatar. Six of the runners in the team are multiple Guinness World Record holders in marathons and ultramarathons.
The notable athletes from UAE are Maria Conceicao and Wendelin Lauxen, who both not only hold multiple Guinness World Records, but also run successful charities in the UAE. The oldest male member in the quest is Juergen Kuhlmey (77), while the oldest female competitor is Ila Brandli (69) from the USA.
Speaking about the challenges runners would face during the quest, participant Ziyad Rahim said: “This is a true test of human endurance. Not only do participants need physical fitness to undertake the challenge, they have to be mentally strong too. Runners will run 42.2K during the day and then fly economy class all night to get to their next destination and then run again. They have to do it for seven consecutive days until they reach Antarctica. So they will have to deal with constant change in temperatures, time zones and sleep deprivation.”
Most of the participants taking part in the challenge are seasoned marathoners and hold 15 Guinness World Records between them, but some are first-time runners too. “We have a good mix of runners. No one is a professional athlete and we have a 1:1 male/female ratio. Moreover, we have representation from all seven continents of the world including scientists based in Antarctica who would run the final leg of the quest,” Rahim added.