Sports and being physically active is something that is encouraged immensely on this island and to support this vision, a large number of campaigns and initiatives are already actively taking place. One of them is the Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship, which recently concluded its second edition last Saturday. The race had featured more than 1,200 international, regional, local and expatriate runners who were involved in an exhilarating 1.9km swim from the Four Seasons and in and around Bahrain Bay, followed by 90km of cycling taking participants past iconic landmarks such as Al Fateh Grand Mosque, Gudaibiya Palace, Bahrain Museum, Bahrain World Trade Center, Bahrain Financial Harbour, Dilmun Burial Mounds, National Charter Monument and the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC), followed by a 21.1km run from BIC then on to Al Areen Wildlife Park and then head back to the finish line at BIC.
As exciting and challenging as it sounded, there were a large number of determined participants who showed up in the wee hours of the morning to make an impact and discover their potential. An inspiration to the spectators, Weekender was intrigued to speak to at least one of them, someone who doesn’t come from an athletic background nor career, but on their own sheer determination, made an impact. One of them was Amer Ebrahim. The 37 year old flight dispatcher in Bahrain Airforce believes sports shouldn’t be segregated between age or gender, in fact its only our passion that makes the difference and enables us to take a breath of relief as we cross the finish line. Speaking to Weekender, he shared: “I was never good at football, so I figured running was very independent and quite a peaceful solo sport; however in 2011 I was convinced by a friend to join a social running community called Bahrain Road Runners (BRR) and from thereon, my potential was realized. The members of this group became precious friends who nurtured my potential, enhanced and boosted my running level.”
Committing to the campaign
In 2013 he joined small triathlon races to perform the running leg only. It was just the start and before he knew it, Amer had purchased a bicycle for himself. Keeping the flow of things going, he decided to take-up freestyle swim and things just began to click from thereon.”In 2015 I decided to do my first half Ironman so I started my 6 months training prior to the race day!! Training for such an event requires dedication and commitment, but sharing it with friends that have the same passion will definitely make it easier and trigger a lot of fun, states Amer as he made preparations and took up committed and hard training required for the race. “We train 1 to 2 hrs a day and it goes longer in weekends, even 5 days a week.”While the swim leg was cancelled in last year’s edition of the Ironman race, hence Amer was only involved in the cycling and running chapter, while disappointed a little , he said: “Anything can happen in a race day that might not allow you to have or do your best performance. But knowing that you’ll only be stronger and more efficient next time, it keeps us all going.” And this year, there certainly was no space for disappointment as he got to experience the triathlon. “It was too windy and surely affected my goal timing, yet I’m very happy and pleased with the results.”
Brushing up on the exciting experience and what a learning curve it has been to his athletic manifestation, Amer encourages everyone to join in as it welcomes all ages at any fitness level. “Triathlon has been fast growing in Bahrain for the last few years and through it you’ll find yourself inviting much healthier life style into your life. Your eating, sleeping, and physical energy will be transformed for the better and it will play a strong impact on your overall well-being.”