DUBAI // He has broken world records, climbing Everest and crossing some of the harshest terrain on Earth in the process, but Adrian Hayes insists one of his proudest moments was winning last year's Fitness First Ultimate Cross-Training Challenge. Crowned the UAE's fittest man last November, Mr Hayes now has the added pressure of trying to retain the title on November 20 and 21, when he faces the British cross-training champion Darren Robson over a course in Ibn Battuta Mall.
"Darren is a phenomenal athlete," the polar explorer said yesterday. "I have known him for a few years and am delighted that he is coming on board this year. We really have a great team of participants between him, Simon Foggerty and another guy, Mark Craig." Gary Melhuish, now the area manager for Fitness First, launched a similar competition in Dubai in the late 1990s. Mr Hayes and Mr Foggerty have both won and been runners-up in that competition.
Mr Melhuish resurrected the event last year with Fitness First and now will host a second challenge. "It is just always something that galvanised people in the UAE," Mr Hayes said. "It is fair to say that at a competing level there are not that many people who are able to do it well." The first day will feature separate male and female events, subdivided into amateur and professional races. On the Saturday, the team leg of the challenge will begin with relay teams from local gyms.