Dr Jeremie Arash Rafii Tabrizi will run a loop of Education City for 24 hours, leading into the National Sport Day.
Dr Tabrizi, professor of genetic medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, will start running his first 6km loop around Qatar Foundation (QF) at 4pm Monday. He won’t run his last one until 24 hours later.
Dr Tabrizi will cover a distance equivalent to between three and four marathons, running around the Education City route time after time, with only brief stops for food and water.
And with his “ultra-run” challenge stretching into National Sport Day, he’s inviting people to lend their support by running, jogging, or walking a loop with him.
Dr Tabrizi says, “I do one every year, because if you do too many the sense of adventure and victory goes away, and after doing a 200 km run in Italy last year, I was looking for something for 2020.
“An athlete and trainer who I know told me that he did a 24-hour race around the same 400 m track, because the challenge was not so much the physical side as the mental aspect – seeing the same things hour after hour, using the same muscles all the time.
“I found this interesting, and thought about how I could bring an ultra-run into the community, to share it with people who might then decide to run a marathon or even an ultra-race themselves.”
Dr Tabrizi, who has been ultra-running for 14 years, decided Education City should be the venue for his test of endurance because of his pride in the emphasis that QF and Qatar place on education.
“I go to other countries and people tell me how they see QF as a model for the region and how they would love their country to have universities like those at QF,” he explains. “It shows how QF is setting the standard for the region in terms of education.
“The concept of my run is to highlight this, which is why I decided to run a loop around the universities at QF rather than just run around a track. I just feel it’s a way of acknowledging the work that QF, and everyone within it, does.”
The first 24-hour run to be held in Qatar is open for everyone, of all ages, to join at any time, with members of the Qatar Ultra Runners group among those who will be participating. Dr Tabrizi – who will set off from Education City’s Green Spine outside Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, a QF partner university, plans to run for 50-55 minutes at a time, pausing only to rehydrate and refuel. By the time he finishes, he expects to have covered between 120-150 km.
“I’m excited about it,” he says. “I know it will be hard, but ultra-running is an adventure, and you become addicted to that adventure.
“My goal is just to get as many people as possible running a loop or part of a loop with me, and I’m very grateful for all the support I’ve had already. People can even come at midnight or 2 am and run a loop,” he added.