To Run Ahead
2 college mates - one from Syria, another from Somalia - love sports and have a friendly conversation, about winning, excelling and the determination to succeed.
By Abdulrazak Adam Hassan, June 11, 2015
Ghina Ahmed Al-Ghadban is from Syria, a student of Al Khawarizmi University, gaining her bachelor’s degree in Medical Laboratory Analysis. In March this year, she won the Environment Friends Society Marathon. Impressed by her victory, her friend at college, Abdulrazak Hassan asked her: “I love sports just like you. Have you participated in marathons before this? Or is this your first attempt?”
Ghina: “I participated in the Zayed marathon before this. That is actually a charity marathon with the Armed Forces Officers Club, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Abu Dhabi Health Services and Yas Marina Circuit coming together for health, fitness and UAE hospitality. It is organized in honour of His Highness Sheikh Zayed. The registrations fees go directly to support patients with kidney diseases. That was my first attempt at running a marathon.”
"I love sports. I enjoyed Gymnastics in school. We trained for long distance running. I probably inherited my love for running from my father. He is a great runner in Syria. I love track and field events. Particularly, the long jump. The last time I took part in a long jump competition, I came 5th in Abu Dhabi city wide. I play basketball too."
"During college education, it is difficult to find enough time to devote passionately to a sport. But I keep training and moulding myself to excel. I get a lot of encouragement from my trainer. She consistently tells me, “You are the best. You can do it.”
Abdulrazak:"The Environment Friends Society Marathon is an endurance feat. Right?"
Ghina: "Yes - a race that indicates who has the determination to complete the race. Some people aspire to win the 1st or 2nd position but the marathon tests limits, the power to last, to meet the challenge of completing the set distance."
Abdulrazak: "Impressive. Personally, I do free runs with friends, in playgrounds or at the beach. As I launch myself into a race, I anticipate which of us will win: will it be me or my competitor? That always encourages me to keep pushing my limits. Tell me, how was it to be among 300 competitors?"
Ghina (laughing): "They were more than 300. The first marathon I ran was 10 kms. Believe me, I was scared. At the back of my mind, I thought: “This is my first marathon. The distance! It is impossible for me to complete this”. The number of participants, fellow-runners, amounted to 15,000! Competing in the 10 km and 24 km marathons. Thankfully, I completed the marathon, ran it till the end. Now I have a certificate for completing 10 kilometers running."
"I always took some comfort from the fact that there were runners behind me. It was exciting."
Abdulrazak: "Wonderful! You are an empowered athlete. Back to Environment Friends Society Marathon - what were you thinking the whole time? Did you think: “Just one more step” or “No, I can’t continue”?"
Ghina "From the beginning, whenever I sighted a competitor in front of me, it motivated me to run faster and move ahead of them. I train regularly. I stick to a diet. That is key to ranking first in sports."
Abdulrazak "Winning a marathon is a special experience. must have quite an impact on your life. Are there any other competitions in which you have ranked at the top?"
Ghina "Nope. I trained in long jump because I love it but I have not scored the top position in it yet. This is the first time I have topped. But I promise to achieve better places and positions by next year."
Abdulrazak "Ghina, I am impressed. I mean, I am twice as tall as you and…ermm… never mind. The best thing an athlete can do, I guess, is to choose a sport they love and persevere in it to attain progress. I need to think again about my choices in sport. So far, I just shuffle between basketball and football ( I am in the college team), just loving and enjoying the rough and tumble of it. With your encouragement, Ghina, I shall now devote myself to running, and compete with you in Zayed marathon next year."
Ghina and Abdulrazak laugh as they complete their conversation and say 'Ma’salaama'.