DUBAI // Fund-raisers braved sub-zero temperatures and pushed themselves to the limit yesterday for a good cause, without ever having to leave the mall.
The Ice Warrior Challenge III took place at Ski Dubai and 175 people took part in the assault course to raise money for children with special needs.
Wearing bobble hats and gloves over their athletic gear, dozens of participants lined up outside the ski slope and set off in groups of five around the course.
Competitors had to race around the Mall of the Emirates before negotiating 18 obstacles, including clambering up icy walls and scrambling through cargo nets.
Inside the ski slope, the pace of proceedings slowed as the competitors became more cautious on the slippery snow and the demands of different obstacles sapped energy.
"The stairs were what really took it out of me," said Jon Nichols, 40, from the United States, who travelled from Abu Dhabi to take part.
"It was the first time I had taken part and I was doing some training but I didn't expect us having to race up the stairs. That was tough."
The competition, now in its third year, was open to anyone over the age of 15. At least Dh40,000 is expected to have been raised for the Beit Al Khair Society.
"It was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed taking part," said Rodolfo Rivera, 27, an American who works in the hospitality industry in Dubai.
"I'm not sure how quick my time was and I didn't set myself a target but I am hopeful I can get into the top 10."
Mr Rivera, who is also training to take part in the Dubai Run, said he was impressed by the turnout. "To be honest, it's amazing to see so many people here so early on a Friday morning. It shows how much people wanted to take part and help support a good cause."
Roland Charbel, 30, from Lebanon and Annabel Gorrie, 32, from the UK, were also impressed at how well the event was organised.
"There was a lot of queuing and waiting around last year but this time it was a lot more efficient," said Ms Gorrie.
"I think I'll be feeling the effects over the next day or so. But it was a lot of fun," she added.
Sherif Hashem, marketing manager for Ski Dubai, said that he was delighted at how the event had gone. "This is one of the toughest assault courses and you need to be in good shape to get through it all," he said. "The atmosphere has been fantastic with everyone encouraging each other at the finish line."
Participants paid a fee of Dh250 to take part and additional funds were raised by selling photographs of the event. Final figures will be available next week.