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Ramdha Challenge a test of endurance for runners

Bin Mejren confident Saturday’s bare feet race in Mushrif Park to see stiff competition

Image Credit: DSC
Emirates Travellers Club expect more than 500 competitors for the inaugural Dubai International Ramdha Challenge at Mushrif Park on Saturday.
Gulf News

Dubai: Emirates Travellers Club, organisers of the inaugural Dubai International Ramdha Challenge this weekend, are confident the event will further enhance the innovative side of Dubai on the world stage.

Held in collaboration with the Dubai Sports Council (DSC), the Dubai International Ramdha (meaning ‘hot sand’ in Arabic) Challenge, will take place in Zone 10 of Mushrif Park Dubai on Saturday (September 9).

The challenge will be held over a distance of 200 metres under the theme ‘From Dubai to the World’ with the competitors being flagged off en masse at 1 pm. As per the rules and regulations, participants need to walk in burning heat over the set distance without any footwear or the use of any oils or substances on their feet.

Participants will be allowed to take breaks at specific rest points that will be located at every 10 metres throughout the course. The number of breaks will ultimately be accounted for to decide the final time at the end of the competition. The winner of the Challenge will be the fastest one to walk the 200 metres.

“Our leaders are always encouraging us to be innovative with our ideas. Walking barefoot in the hot desert sand is not just a challenge, but also has varied healthy aspects to it,” Awad Bin Mohammad Bin Mejren, President, Emirates Travellers Club, told Gulf News.

“His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai has always been pushing us towards a joint vision that brings forth new and innovative ideas. I believe that barefoot walking on hot sand can be quite a challenge and we intend to make a start right here in Dubai and then take this idea to the world,” he added.

The widely-travelled Bin Mejren has already organised informal Ramdha events in other emirates, including the last one in Al Ain that attracted close to 1,000 participants. “Honestly, we have been quite surprised with the response we have been getting for our events, both from expatriates and Emiratis. For this one we are expecting at least 500 participants, if not more,” Bin Mejren said.

“There are several healthy aspects to the race and this gives us a further push to take Dubai to the rest of the world. We are starting off with Dubai and from here we want to expand and reach out to the world by organising similar events elsewhere in the future,” he added.

There will be a special medical team from the Arabian European Hospital to supervise the well-being of all competitors during the event. Participants will be allowed to wear head gear to keep the sun away, while persons with diabetes, heart issues and skin conditions will not be allowed to participate.

Organisers will be conducting training sessions at Mushrif Park on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to acquaint competitors with the rules while passing on the multi-health benefits of the exercise.

The competition is open to men and women above 16 years and registration formalities can be completed either at or