In my quest of completing the 7 continent marathon club, I decided to register for Sao Paulo Marathon. The plan was finalized a month prior to the race with Mama and Lala deciding to meet up with me in Brazil. My marathon friend, Dr. Pedro Santos, booked the hotel and I arrived into Sao Paulo after a 20 hour flight from Doha. As expected, Sao Paulo was not much of a tourist destination, primarily a concrete jungle. That same evening, Mama and Lala arrived as well and we walked around the hilly downtown area. Next morning, Pedro arrived from via a local flight and we all went to the marathon expo to collect our kit. The rest of the day was spent touring the historical places and enjoying Churrusco dinner. The race morning was relaxing as we were within 5 minutes of the starting area. It was slightly chilly during the morning, but as sun came out it became increasing hot and humid. The marathon course was interesting, a typical city marathon that takes you from most of the scenic areas around the town. My pace was slow to start with and continued to get slower and slower due to high temperature and hills. During the latter stage of the race, there were quite a few tunnels which provided some respite from the weather. The last few miles were painful but I managed to complete the course without too much fuss. As I crossed the finished line, I started to cramp so was rushed to the medical tent. There was a bit of language barrier, but the doctors were really friendly, especially when they found out that I am from Pakistan. Later, I found out that Paulo pulled out of the race as he sustained an injury. The next day we all flew to Rio and spent the next four days enjoying the beautiful city. In the end it was an excellent trip and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I managed to complete a marathon in 5 continents!!!
Ziyad Rahim is an adventure-runner from Pakistan. He currently holds 10 Guinness World Records in long-distance running, ranging from marathons to ultra-marathons.