After pulling out at the 35K mark last year, I was determined to complete the marathon this year. The timing of the race wasn’t quite favorable as I had to be back in Doha for 3pm to write my MBA Finance exam. After work on Thursday afternoon, I took the flight from Doha to Dubai and reached there at 5pm. Unfortunately, there was a long line at the immigration which took about an hour and a half. From the airport, I caught the new Dubai metro to Jumeriah and by the time I got to Westin hotel, it was already 7:30pm. I had asked Pedro (the Brazilian friend who I met in Egypt) to meet me there at 6:30pm, but by the time I got there, he had already left. I picked up the race kit and took a cab to Julie and Daran’s place where I dropped off my bag and then headed straight to Karama Hotel to meet up with the ENBD boys. The evening was fun and we partied till about midnight.
I reached JLT just after 1am and went to bed at about 2:30am only to wake up at 4:45am to get to the race start. The race route was the same as last year and within the first 7K’s I met up with Chris Homann and Pedro. The disappointing part of the race was the unavailability of Isostar as they had run out of it on all stalls. Other than that, I met some interesting people on the way…one was a guy from Singapore (see pic below) who chatted and encouraged everyone throughout the course. Also, watching Haile Gebreselle run was a treat. He won the race for the third year in a row but could not break his own world record and win the $ 1M bonus prize. In the latter part of the race, I had to content with the sun which was beating down making the run difficult. However, I was determined to finish and had enough pain killers with me to help me to the finish line. After about five and half hours, I entered the last corner in Knowledge Village and just before the finish line, I saw Daran, Julie and Elle cheering me on. I could not stay long to enjoy the post race festivities as I had to catch the 2:15pm flight back to Doha. The medal was quite nice and I above all, I was relieved to finish the race this time around. I got to the airport, courtesy Julie, about an hour prior to take off and reached home 2 minutes before the scheduled start of the exam!!!!!
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.