DUBAI // Seven ultra-marathon athletes will run across the country to raise money for an 18-month-old boy.
The group is being led by German Wendelin Lauxen, who holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest time to complete a marathon on seven continents.
The team started the 7 Emirates Run on Thursday from the Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana in Abu Dhabi.
The 575-kilometre run will take 12 days and will finish at Downtown Dubai on December 2, in time for the National Day celebrations that evening.
The team is raising funds for Al Jalila Foundation, which is aiming to pay for life-changing surgery for Mohammed Ayoub, an 18-month-old boy in Sharjah who suffers from deformities to his legs.
“We are overwhelmed with the community support we have received,” said Lauxen. “Our wish is to see Mohammed running with us in the coming few years.”
The ribbon for the race was cut on Thursday by Dr Abdulkareem Sultan Al Olama, chief executive of Al Jalila Foundation.
“Not only will the run raise the funds required to get Mohammed Ayoub on his feet, but it will also raise awareness across the emirates of the critical importance of developing cutting-edge medical capabilities through medical research and innovation,” Dr Al Olama said.
About 40 pupils from five Gems schools accompanied the runners for the first 5km.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for our schools and for me personally to be involved in this ultra-endurance event,” said Servee Palmans, the director of school administration and business operations for Gems.
“Apart from a personal challenge, I like to encourage others to engage in sport activities to stimulate physical and mental well-being.
“There is also an added result of raising awareness to support those less fortunate.”