What a great boy’s holiday. Chris Ping and I decided to visit Egypt for a week to do some sightseeing and take part in the marathon. We flew into Cairo and spent the next 2 days visiting the Pyramids, Citadel and other historic places in and around Cairo. The following day, we took the overnight sleeper train to Luxor and stayed at the beautiful Movenpick resort which was the official race hotel. On race morning, we were bussed to the Hatshepsut Temple for the 7am start. The race started just after dawn under beautiful clear skies and perfect weather. It was a low key event with most of the runners from abroad, including a big Japanese contingent. We met some interesting people, especially a couple from Australia (Mike & Marie). The race course was a bit boring, 4 rounds around the course that was set on the foothills of the Valley of the Kings. Every 2.5k, there was water and bananas on the course. During the race, a film crew in an open jeep was interviewing runners on the course and I had my 2 minutes of fame when I told them on camera that I’m a Canadian and had especially come for the race from Dubai. I ran the first half at quite a good pace but with the sun out, the temperature soared to around 30c and I began to tire a bit. Luckily I found a soda stand and stopped by to have a chilled Coke. That did the trick as I finally got some sugar into my system. I ran and walked the rest of the course and had to dodge a crazy donkey, idiot drivers as well as children begging along the course. Having read the reviews before coming, I knew this would happen but I was determined not to give up. By the time I was a few kilometers from the end, most of the cones were removed from the course but I was still under the cut off time. After 5 and half hours on the tough course, I reached the finish line and was greeted by the quite a few people, including the Aussie couple. Later I found out that Marie came overall 2nd in the women’s category. An hour later we were taken back to the hotel where we relaxed for the day. In the evening, there was a great gala dinner especially arranged for the marathoners. I was presented the finishers medal and papyrus certificate. The award ceremony was followed by sumptuous BBQ dinner and belly dancing show. If the marathon was a disappointment, the Gala dinner compensated for that. We made great friends there. A doctor by the name of Paulo from Brazil, the Aussie couple, a gold medalist figure skater from USA, just to name a few. The next day we went to Aswan and then took the overnight train to Cairo. After relaxing in Cairo for a day, we headed back to Dubai. It was truly a memorable experience and one of my best holidays to date.
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.