Tifanne Thayme at Abu Dhabi Marathon 2022
Tifanne Thayme with son Ethan, 3, and daughter Sasha, 1, whizz past Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi during the marathon Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: What started off as her daily routine to get her son closer to nature has eventually seen Dubai resident Tifanne Thayme, 36, finishing a 42.2km full marathon while pushing her two children in a double pram.

In a Guinness World Record attempt, the Canadian expat achieved the incredible feat in 3 hours, 20 minutes and 58 seconds.

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Thayme took part in the Adnoc Abu Dhabi Marathon with her three-year-old son, Ethan, and one-year-old old daughter, Sasha, in the double pram on Sunday.

She is now waiting for the ratification of her Guinness record, which has apparently broken the existing record by over one minute.

According to the Guinness website, the fastest marathon pushing a double pram (female) is 3hr 22min 5sec and was achieved by Jessica Bruce (UK) at the Abingdon Marathon in Abingdon, UK, on October 22, 2017.

Despite the extra load, Thayme still managed to finish 18th overall in the women’s category and sixth in her age group, according to the Adnoc Abu Dhabi Marathon website.

Speaking to Gulf News on Tuesday, Thayme said she was overwhelmed with emotions after her accomplishment and dedicated it to all the mothers. “It wasn’t always about running… it was about motherhood also. It was truly my way of combining my passion and priority,” she said.

A Canadian of Chinese origin, Thayme said she was always passionate about running. “I used to run with my dad when I was a child,” said Thayme who gave up her job as an airline crew member for building a family life.

How it all started

However, her mother, Way Tham, did not let her forget about her passion. “She knew the importance of running in my life. She gifted me a running stroller when my son was born.

“If I had to run, I had to take him also. I started loving it and I saw that he also started loving it. He would crawl into the stroller.”

Soon, it became a way for Thayme to take her son closer to nature. “With running, I took him outside…showed him water and nature. That was kind of my me time also. And shortly after him, I was pregnant again. But I continued running and after my daughter was born, I got a double stroller and we continued together. I am lucky that both my kids love it. They really enjoy it,” she added.

Passionate about endurance running, Thayme had qualified for many other marathons including the famous Boston Marathon. After completing some shorter races with the double pram, she decided to pursue the Marathon World Record.

“I had this goal in my mind since April,” said Thayme who slowly started training for realising her goal. A resident of Mira Community in Al Qudra, Thayme mostly trained inside the community.

“Of course, during training there were runs that I had to cut short as someone [one of her kids] was not in a good mood. I had to respect that. I would appreciate if they are happy to go. If not, I would not run with them.”

Supportive husband

Having a husband who is an accomplished runner was an advantage for her. “He does his own training as per his schedule but he also understands my training and schedule. On days he would go running I would stay home or I would run short distance. When he is home, I leave kids with him and go for longer runs or a different workout.”

Her husband, Eamon Sallam, who runs a local media agency, can be seen and heard cheering Thayme during her Guinness attempt, especially when she was about to reach the finishing point.

Accompanying Thayme in a bicycle, Sallam’s job was to take care of the kids during the mega event while also ensuring that Thayme adhered to the strict Guinness guidelines and completed all paperwork.

“I would call out for snacks or water and he would hand them over to kids. My kids were really enjoying. All volunteers were waving at the kids and cheering. They were excited and it was good fun,” said Thayme, who was particularly happy about her daughter waving at everybody.

“I want to be an example for my daughter. When she grows up, I want her to decide to run and feel that she can do anything even when she becomes a mother.”

Tifanne with family after finish abu dhabi marathon
Tifanne with family after the marathon Image Credit: Supplied

Achievement of mothers

Thayme said she was particularly emotional when she recollected her achievement as a mother.

“After having kids, your life changes a lot. It takes only one kid to change you, your mindset, your priorities. You make a lot of sacrifices which may go unnoticed. It can be tough sometimes. You may feel overwhelmed or unseen or lost in this new role. As a mother, I want to dedicate my achievement to all moms that are awake in the middle of the night to calm a crying baby or a mother that has no time to brush her teeth or change her clothes with two kids running around.”

The only thing that she missed when she finished the marathon with sore legs was the was the presence of her mother, who lives in Canada. “She couldn’t make it to be here. But she was proud of me when she got to know that I finally made it. She was crying, obviously. Even I was overwhelmed with joy and pride,” Thayme said.

Thayme is now eagerly waiting for the Guinness officials to officially declare her record.

“I am so happy that I could achieve it. But I was mentally prepared for my failure also. I had consulted a few high-level runners. Some said ‘I don’t know if it is possible’. Some said ‘you are close, but not sure if you are quite there’. So, I had to be okay even if I fail. My goal was to finish in 3 hours and 20 minutes.

It was not easy with certain things like the wind and kids’ temperament not in my control. There was headwind the entire way. It was in my face. But I tried to stick to my plan and pace instead of trying to go fast and crash at the end. Anyhow, I am glad I did it finally,” said a jubilant Thayme.