Dubai: Just over four months away from what some have dubbed an impossible physical challenge, Scott Ragsdale, chairman of the naseba group finds comfort in the growing support for his challenge.
Ragsdale turned 40 in January, in a year coinciding with the UAE's 40th national day. To mark both occasions he will undertake a seven-day Ironman Triathlon across each of the UAE's seven emirates beginning November 28 — now known as the naseba-seven challenge.
"The support I'm getting in Dubai makes it all worthwhile because of the positive impact my feat can have on people," Ragsdale told Gulf News from Austria. "The UAE's General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare is giving me huge support and they seem excited about my challenge too."
The naseba-seven challenge has been endorsed by the General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare. It is the government entity handling all youth and sporting activities on a national level, under whose umbrella also fall all the UAE's sporting associations, federations and clubs.
When Gulf News caught up with Ragsdale last month he was struggling to train in the scorching UAE summer heat. For this reason he is spending the rest of the summer training in Europe with his coach Mario Huys — who is a 47 time Ironman finisher.
However, despite his positively motivating attitude the chairman of the global business information company is in no way immune to pressure and negativity about his undertaking.
"I got an e-mail from a friend who is also a small shareholder in the company who thinks I'm wasting my time on this challenge and I need to focus on the company," he said. "[But] I can't complain about a lack of support because the people who are negative about it motivate me a lot, which is a form of support in a way."
The idea behind Ragsdale's naseba-seven challenge is to inspire the people around him and the UAE community at large into improving their lifestyles, through leadership by example. "There are lots of average people out there doing exceptional things… I am nobody special, trying to do something physically special. So when people look around and think if he can do it why can't I, the idea of getting into shape will transform their lives."
Ragsdale confesses his 35 hour-a-week training has taken over his life, but believes he is having a positive effect on people around him. "The people in the company in Dubai are really excited and truly being motivated by this as there is now a group of 12 people who go to the gym together everyday," he said. "There is one girl who has lost nearly 20kgs and quit smoking because of her determination to get into shape."
Standing at 1.95 cm tall, Ragsdale himself has lost 10kg since he began training rigorously in March.
He has just begun his first fitness test of three as a build-up to his challenge in November. To track his progress, log onto his blog at: www.scottragsdale.com.
Fujairah to Abu Dhabi
On Monday November 28, Scott Ragsdale will set off on a seven-day consecutive Ironman Triathlon, starting off in Fujairah and finishing at Abu Dhabi's Emirates Palace Hotel.
The Ironman Triathlon is organised by the World Triathlon Corporation and consists of a 3.86-km swim, 180.25 km of cycling and a 42.195-km marathon run. The challenge must be completed in that order without a break and has a time limit of 17 hours for completion. Scott Ragsdale aims to complete his naseba-seven challenge across each emirate in 14 hours or less.