JEDDAH: Over 300 runners of all backgrounds and abilities have taken part in the the Mazda 91st Saudi National Day series on the hills of of Usfan, Jeddah, in a race that lasted 91 mins and 91.91 secs.
Sponsors Under Armor marked the Kingdom’s national day with races in Jeddah and the capital on the same day to celebrate the country’s achievements over the past 91 years.
The events were in support of the national goal of encouraging people to lead a healthy and more active lifestyle.
Before the start of the Jeddah Run Series event, runners received a message from Saudi Olympic rower Husein Alireza from London.
“I wish you all the best luck in the race. It is a tough one, but it is a great preparation for Hijaz 50 race which will take place on Dec. 3, 2021,” he said. “I should be with you, so run all the time, walk if you have to, crawl if you must, but don’t give up. It is you against yourself up there, but the most important thing is just enjoy it. Good luck.”
Athletes aged from 18-60 ran through the area’s 9.1 km scenic trails for a duration of 91 mins, 91 secs, with Katie Philcox of the UK winning the women’s race, having covered 11.38 km in that time, and Johan Engelbrecht of South Africa coming first in the men’s competition with 16.27 km.
Hejaz Ultra, a trail-running and hiking group in Saudi Arabia, partnered with Under Armor to organize the event.
Commenting on the race and the Inspire Series, Nesreen Samir Ghonaim, the Saudi Chairlady of Hejaz Ultra, said: “We are proud to be part of the Mazda 91st Saudi National Day series run and to see Saudi Arabia’s growing fitness community come out for the day.”
Meanwhile, Fabrice Laborie, a French national who has been living in Saudi Arabia for 20 years and founded Hejaz Ultra in 2016, told Arab News that the race is a key family and corporate community event with a fantastic vibe and energy.
“This is a special day for Saudi Arabia and we decided to celebrate it with fellow athletes from Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Britain, India, the Philippines, Pakistan, Sudan, Nigeria, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Morocco and many others.” he said.
“Due to coronavirus procedures, we only registered around 305 runners this year in addition to a large number of virtual runners who were home or walking somewhere in the city.”
“We are proud to be part of the Under Armor series and to see Saudi Arabia’s growing fitness community come out for the day,” he added.
Laborie also expressed his admiration for the Saudi government’s aim to promote physical and social well-being and a healthier lifestyle by providing programs that encourage widespread and regular participation in sports and athletic activities.
1st Katie Philcox (UK) 11.38 km; 2nd Nujud Alharbi (Saudi Arabia) 10.10 km; 3rd Red Alvarez (Philippines) 9.88 km.
1st Johan Engelbrecht (South Africa) 16.27 km; 2nd Abubakr Gafar (Sudan) 16.20 km; 3rd Abdelrhim Ghad (Palestine) 16.17 km