Dubai: Fifteen-year-old Dubai-based Canadian Kristen De Sousa will be just one step away from fulfilling her dream of completing seven marathons on all the continents after she completes her sixth race on January 26.
Running in support of UK-registered charity “Children of the Mountain”, the 15-year-old Dubai College student is scheduled to leave next Tuesday accompanied by her mother Sharon.
The teen has so far completed five marathons and her next one at the end of this month is the White Continent Marathon on King George Island in Antartica. All her efforts are geared towards supporting the Children of the Mountain charity that helps provide education for children in Nepal.
“I wanted to support a charity that Dubai College supports, and being education oriented, I found Children of the Mountain to be the best fit. I just hope that I can bring a message of positivity and that anything is possible if you really want to achieve it, it doesn’t matter how young you are,” Kristen said.
Backed by her mum Sharon, the Canadian girl recently completed the Doha Marathon where she finished in a time of 4:44:53 despite ongoing knee and Achilles injuries. Kristen’s best time so far has been in the marathon in Pisa, Italy, where she completed the race in a time of 4:34:18, a week after completing the Aspen Marathon in Port Elizabeth, South Africa a week before.
Her most challenging race to date has been the Australia Mingara One Central Coast Marathon after she missed her flight, took a diverted flight due to medical emergency and developed a chest infection.
Besides this, the Dubai girl has had to seek permission from each Race Director to participate as athletes below 18 years are normally not allowed to compete. However, she was able to overcome this hurdle as her mother Sharon runs along with her.
Yet another challenge that the young girl has had to overcome is the physical demands on her body. But Dubai-based osteopath Cristina Mesquita from the Osteopathic Health Centre has been instrumental in helping Kristen keep in shape for the next race.
“Everyone has simply been so helpful in ensuring I keep focused on my goal of completing seven marathons in three months,” she said.
Kristen’s challenge started in Ontario, Canada with the Hamilton Road to Hope Marathon in November 2013 and will conclude with the Punta Arenas Marathon in Chile on February 2, thus making her possibly the only one to complete the feat of running seven marathons in just three months.
Kristen is aiming for a career in Sports Medicine or Sports Psychology. Based on current available records, the teen is just a few weeks away from officially getting her name in the World Record books as the ‘Youngest Female to complete seven marathons on seven continents in the fastest time’ from The Alternative Book of Records.
Amanda Harkin, a Trustee with Children of the Mountain, was all praise for Kristen. “We are incredibly proud of Kristen’s achievement so far, and in particular for the light she is shining on Children of the Mountain. She is an inspiration to youngsters across the country, and for a teenager to work so hard to support other youngsters is a worthwhile effort,” Harkin said.
Since its founding in 2009, Children of the Mountain has overseen the design, funding, build and start-up of three new primary and higher secondary schools. The flagship project catered for 600 pupils from kindergarten to grade 12.
The overall project included the building of 25 classrooms and a new washroom block, provision of 600 specially-designed bilingual books, installation of electricity and set-up of 10 computers, 500kgs of school supplies, 300 uniforms and provision of daily hot school meals for the kindergarten children.
- Kristen will become a member of the elite Seven Continents Club.
- Kristen’s Just Giving page, where she is raising funds for Children of the Mountain, can be found at http://www.justgiving.com/kristen-De-Sousa.
- Information on Children of the Mountain can be found at www.childrenofthemountain.org.