Dubai: A Dubai duo has raised over Dh5,000 for the medical treatment of underprivileged children by running four kilometres every four hours over two days recently.
Lebanese expat Dr Haitham Solh and his UK friend Ahmad Ali undertook the ‘David Goggins 4x4x48 Challenge’ to raise funds for Dubai-based Al Jalila Foundation’s ‘Farah’ (Happiness) paediatric programme, which provides life-saving treatment for children.
The duo ran a total of 78km over 48 hours (Thursday to Saturday), equivalent to two marathons. Dr Solh, a maths professor at American University in Dubai, said the challenge was “more mental than physical”. He added: “It was about having the resilience to wake up at 2am or set out at 10pm to go for a run, come back, have very little time to rest and then go out and do it all over again.”
‘That’s our motto’
However, the two friends kept going, inspired by a good cause, he said. “I’ve teamed up with Ahmad [a project manager] many times before for a good cause. That’s our motto. We don’t want to be just fitness buffs, we want to raise funds and awareness about health-related issues.”
Sometimes the friends ran together; other times they ran solo. Their runs — each 6.5km (4miles) leg taking about 45 minutes — took them to areas such as Kite Beach, Dubai Marina and Dubai Internet City Amphitheatre, among others.
Some of the dozen-plus donors supporting their run were anonymous; others included former and current students of Dr Solh and friends of the two runners. A final donation of Dh900 pushed the total contributions a little over their target of Dh5,000, he added.
Dr Solh, 46, said “anything is possible if you put your mind to it”. He added that he used to weigh 120kg and lost 29kg in two years after running, doing CrossFit, lifting weights, playing basketball and other activities. He also participated in Dubai Fitness Challenge last year, running 30km among 30 runners under an initiative led by him. “I find a lot of solace in running, it makes me feel free,” Dr Solh, who has been living in Dubai for over 12 years, said.