Dubai: A Dubai-based athlete yesterday started a 700km run across the UAE to raise funds for charity and hopefully also break the world record for the distance in four days.
Ghani Souleymanego, who is from Tongo, started off from the UAE-Saudi and will finish his Guinness World Record attempt in Fujairah by Saturday.
Souleymane, 39, will attempt to set a new time for the fastest crossing of the seven emirates. The last attempt was made in 2006 by Jalal Jamal Majid Bin Thaneya Al Marri. Souleymane will attempt to beat the existing world record of six days, 21 hours 48 minutes to complete the 700km distance.
In the process, Souleymane will be raising money for the ‘Heroes of Hope Charity’ in association with Al Jalila Foundation.
‘Born with a gift’
Ghani, a Dubai resident since 2017, is banking on his endurance and speed to successfully break the previous attempt. “I am fortunate to have been born with a gift for endurance and sports,” said the athlete.
“I am passionate about encouraging everyone to harness the benefits of fitness and sports to make themselves mentally and physically stronger. I believe it is part of my duty to give back to the larger community. This is why I am running to raise money for Heroes of Hope charity in association with Al Jalila Foundation.”
Souleymane works for a leading sportswear brand and is a part-time running coach at LK Running Performance in Dubai. He is often seen on the sidelines handing out water, cheering competitors or running alongside first-time runners to support them on their race, rather than competing himself.
Rise to fame
Souleymane rose to fame for completing 30 ultramarathons in 30 days in 2020. The following year he completed 30 Ironman 70.3 distances in 30 days as part of the Dubai 30x30 challenge.
“It felt surreal being honoured in the Dubai Fitness Challenge Hall of Fame for the second time by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai,” he said.
Soulyemane said he had been training daily for the cross-country run. During the days of his challenge, Soulyemane said he will be given a rest of 45 minutes every four hours. “But through and through I will be running day and night to complete the challenge. I have a good friend who is looking at my nourishment to sustain the challenge. There is a team that will monitor my race to finish.”
Soulyemane also spoke of his motivation for undertaking the challenge.
“Inclusivity in sports is big to me. Running for a cause makes me happy. It is my way of giving back to the country that has welcomed me and allowed me to flourish as an athlete and member of the community.”
He added: “I am passionate about the benefit of sports for all citizens. Everyone can benefit from exercise. Although I love racing, my passion as a coach is supporting others on their journey. I am proud to be an Adidas runner and coach. Where some see an obstacle, I see an opportunity. I love challenges and endurance is the biggest challenge in sports.”
Soulyemane said: “As a coach with leading running coaching group LK Performance, I support leading coach Lee Harris in training podium winners and runners of all levels. Seeing runners reach their potential drives me.”