Dubai: A group of colleagues are backing their fellow employee at Dubai Duty Free in fulfilling a life goal, by participating with him at the NAS Ramadan Games, as he prepares for this year’s Chicago Marathon.

Thirty-eight year-old Melvin Tesoro won a place to participate in this year’s Chicago Marathon, following an online draw held by organisers.

Tesoro, who works in Customer Service at Dubai Duty Free, was one of the 1,000-odd participants at Thursday’s NAS Night Challenge held on the sidelines of the Seventh Nad Al Sheba (NAS) Ramadan Sports Tournament.

Tesoro was using this event as a preparation for his big day in Chicago on October 13, and a handful of his workmates decided they would also join to support him. A veteran in long distance road-running, Tesoro has already completed nine marathons including events in Manila, Istanbul and Vietnam along with a 50-kilometre ultra-marathon.

Melvin Tesoro, a Filipino DDF worker at NAS, plans to run in Chicago marathon.

“Chicago will be my 10th and I feel blessed and privileged to be among the lucky ones running this year,” Tesoro told Gulf News.

“I had applied in the online lucky draw that is normally held at such big events, and was pleasantly surprised to find myself chosen. At the moment I have a sub-4 hours time in marathons, but one day I will be happy to bring this down to sub-3.30 hours by the time I am too old to run such long distances,” he added.

Though he took up long distance running as a hobby, Tesoro has slowly veered away towards using his passion in helping the less privileged.

“I am single and my whole life is before me. My dream one day is to have a charity that will support education of children back home in the Philippines,” he related.

Tesoro is not alone in his quest. Co-ordinated by Marvin Rebusada from DDF Human Resources, backing him are a group of workmates from the Dubai Duty Free Sports Department.

“I think this sort of participation brings in a sense of camaraderie and unity at the workplace. Not only is it an honour for us to be part of this event, but it also helps us inspire each other,” Janet Yalong-Platon from Operations said.

“And if one of us wins here, then it means the entire DDF team has won,” she smiled.

“All of us are passionate about living a sporting life. We are proud to participate in several sporting events and activities throughout the UAE including Dragon Boat racing or cross-fit running or perhaps even a road race now and then,” JP Pocallan Jr from DDF’s IT Department said.

“When an activity has dual goals of being charitable and challenging oneself, it is all the more meaningful for everyone,” he added.

“Our friend Melvin will be in Chicago due to his own initiative and his love for sport and charity, but we will all be with him in spirit.”