A doctor and cancer expert at Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar (WCM-Q) celebrated National Sport Day by running non-stop – for 24 hours.

Dr Arash Rafii-Tabrizi, Professor of Genetic Medicine in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, took on the grueling challenge to raise awareness on the benefits of running and healthy lifestyles.

Supported by Sahtak Awalan – Your Health First, WCM-Q’s public health campaign, Dr Tabrizi set off from the Green Spine at Qatar Foundation at 4 pm on Monday, finishing at the same spot at 4 pm on Tuesday, having repeatedly run a lengthy route around Education City. His run covered an  estimated 140 km.

Dr Tabrizi, who is an experienced ultra-runner, said that running for this distance and this length of time is never easy, but the course is flat and he had a lot of support from the community.

His primary motivation, though, has been to highlight the amazing journey of Qatar Foundation over the last 25 years,  a project that is unique in the Middle East.

The ideology and goals of QF, launched under the vision of HH Sheikha Moza, have been transformative and have made education a priority, putting it at the forefront of the nation’s development. In this context, National Sport Day is a logical evolution of this, providing a bridge between body and mind.

He added that the community joined in the run, despite its difficulties, which demonstrates the positive impact that Qatar Foundation has had on the psyche of the nation.

No stranger to ultra-marathons, Dr Tabrizi has completed around a dozen extreme races. In 2012 he completed the 119 km Ultra-Trail Mont du Blanc Race that follows a mountainous route through France, Italy and Switzerland. In 2014, he completed a 360 km ultra-marathon around Qatar to raise awareness on women’s cancer issues, and in 2018 he finished the 330 km Tour de Géants through the Italian Alps, which saw him run for a total of 120 hours, finally finishing 165th out of 850 and having snatched just 12 hours sleep over five days.

Dr Arash Rafii Tabrizi 24-hour run 1

For the 24-hour Run 4 Your Health Challenge around Education City, Dr Tabrizi was supported by a number of other runners and members of the public, who each joined him for a short time.

Another experienced ultra-runner, Mohammad Allam, ran the entire course with him. Allam said that the most important aspect of the event has been to highlight the health benefits of running. The cardiovascular benefits, he said, are obvious, but running also helps strengthen the joints, improves bone mass and improves mental health. Running, or any exercise, can help you become happier through the release of endorphins.

I hope that this run has helped inspire others to lace up their trainers and go for a run.

Marhaba has collated a post-activity article of this year’s Qatar National Sport Day activities. Visit our recent news section and follow us on social media to stay updated on our posts.