Dr Khalid Al Suwaidi, Executive Director of ECSSR in Abu Dhabi, trains for over seven hours daily as he prepares for the Abu Dhabi to Makkah run which he will undertake on February 1. Image Credit: ECSSR

Abu Dhabi: An Emirati executive director of the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) has taken up an unprecedented challenge to run more than 2,000km, from Abu Dhabi to Makkah, to spread the message of brotherly relations between the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Currently, Dr Khalid Jamal Al Suwaidi has been training in Hatta and will start his journey from Abu Dhabi from February 1 next year. He will run for 40 days covering more than 50km in a day.

Dr Khaled Al Suwaid, Executive Director of ECSSR in Abu Dhabi trains to run more than 2,000km from Abu Dhabi to Makkah from February 1. PHOTO COURTESY: ECSSR.

In an interview with Gulf News, Dr Al Suwaidi said, “My intention is to express my gratitude and the UAE people’s appreciation for Emirati-Saudi relations, cooperation between the two brotherly countries in combating the plots and conspiracies that threaten the Gulf region and the Arab world.”

Dr Khaled Al Suwaid, Executive Director of ECSSR in Abu Dhabi trains to run more than 2,000km from Abu Dhabi to Makkah from February 1. PHOTO COURTESY: ECSSR.

He added: “This initiative also aims to hail the two countries’ efforts to ensure peace and stability in the region, as prerequisites for prosperity, progress, and the remarkable achievements under the wise leadership in both countries.”

Daily training

Dr Khaled Al Suwaid, Executive Director of ECSSR in Abu Dhabi trains to run more than 2,000km from Abu Dhabi to Makkah from February 1. PHOTO COURTESY: ECSSR.

He has been training daily since February to prepare himself physically, mentally and psychologically for the run. By November 10, he had already trained 270 consecutive days. So far, he has run 7,150km during his trainings and spent 3,000 hours of exercise at the gym.

2000km

Dr Khalid Jamal Al Suwaidi will cover during his run

“When you are faced with a challenging task such as running from Abu Dhabi to Makkah, there is no room for complacency for a single moment. Since I chose this challenge, I have been fully aware of the impending consequences. Therefore, I follow a training programme that many people consider very tough,” Dr Al Suwaidi said who completed his doctorate from Kings College London on the subject of ‘National Identity in the UAE’.

This initiative aims to hail the two countries’ efforts to ensure peace and stability in the region, as prerequisites for prosperity, progress, and the remarkable achievements under the wise leadership in both countries.

- Dr Khalid Jamal Al Suwaidi, Executive Director, ECSSR

“I now feel I have reached the stage where I truly enjoy sports training, no matter how difficult it is. The satisfaction that I get after achieving a training goal makes me forget all the pain and suffering endured during the training,” said the executive director who has been working with the ECSSR from 2003.

A team of six people including a doctor will keep a tab on the health conditions of Dr Al Suwaidi throughout the journey.

Strong message

Dr Khaled Al Suwaid, Executive Director of ECSSR in Abu Dhabi trains to run more than 2,000km from Abu Dhabi to Makkah from February 1. PHOTO COURTESY: ECSSR.

Dr Al Suwaidi believes the Emirati-Saudi relations deserve to be communicated through sweat, patience, determination, and endurance.

“The historic fraternal ties, stable relations, and common destiny of the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, ought to be expressed in every way possible. I chose sport as my personal approach for doing that, and I believe that with every drop of sweat and every step I take during training and running to the holy city of Makkah, will serve as a message of love and fraternity toward the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” he said, adding he trains more than seven hours a day.

“Since the wise leadership in both countries does a great job through joint cooperation, we, as citizens, have a duty to express our pride from the perspective of the community,” Dr Al Suwaidi said

40days

Dr Al Suwaidi will take to reach Makkah

Apart from highlighting the bond between the two countries, Dr Al Suwaidi also wanted to walk to the Grand Mosque of Makkah on his feet.

“All fatigue and pain will end the moment I see the Holy Kaaba and perform Umrah,” he said.

Previously, Dr Al Suwaidi ran 327km in February from Fujairah to Abu Dhabi in 80 hours, during which he did not sleep for more than three hours, to raise awareness about the Cancer Patient Care Society — Rahma.

Dr Al Suwaidi said he was an obese until 2015 and on verge of having diabetes but his determination changed his life. He decided to hit the road and gym which transformed his life altogether.