Formerly Obese Woman Readies for 50km Gruelling Desert Run

Formerly Obese Woman Readies for 50km Gruelling Desert Run
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Published October 25th, 2017 - 17:05 GMT via

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Omaima once tipped the scales at 110 kilograms (Photo: Gulf News)
Omaima once tipped the scales at 110 kilograms (Photo: Gulf News)

As Dubai takes on the challenge to become the fittest city in the world, a mother-of-two recounts how she overcame morbid obesity to become a contender for a 50km gruelling desert run later this year.

Sudanese expat Omaima Mohammad, 45, who once weighed 110 kilograms, will take part in the Urban-Ultra UTX50 - an ultra-trail adventure into the wilderness of Ras Al Khaimah on December 8.

“Coming this far for someone who could barely walk for a few minutes without panting, is nothing short of a miracle,” said Omaima, who tipped the scales at nearly 100 kilograms until last year.

Weight loss journey

Her see-saw weight loss journey began in 2011 when she lost 50 kilograms following a gastric band surgery in 2011. But the joy was short-lived.

By 2016, she was back to square one, having regained all the weight she had lost.

“The doctors who had performed the bariatric surgery had warned me that I might regain weight if I don’t exercise and take care of my diet. But I didn’t pay heed to their advice,” Omaima recalled.

“Soon I became obese all over again. My Body Mass Index (BMI) reached 47, which is considered morbidly obese. Things came to such a head that I couldn’t even do simple household chores. One day I set out to drop my children to school and realised that I couldn’t even get into my car. That day I decided to do something about myself.”

Thus began her endeavour to lose weight naturally. In April 2016 Omaima joined Dubai-based Desert Trail Running Group. Fitness coach Lee Harris who heads the running group still remembers the first time he met Omaima.

“She was obese but she was also very determined so I immediately took her under my wings,” he said.

Recalling the early sessions, Omaima said: “The first few days didn’t go well and I even picked up a calf injury but I didn’t let these setbacks deter me, and continued with my training sessions. On weekends I would run non-stop for four hours. The efforts paid off and I lost 30 kilograms.”

Omaima, who was running within her community in Mirdif until now, did her first desert trail run last May. “All this while I was running in my neighbourhood. But now I was taking part in a desert trail which requires a great deal of stamina and endurance. Sure enough when I completed the 15km run, I felt at the top of the world.”

Since then Omaima hasn’t missed a desert trail run. From weighing 92 kilos last year, she has now managed to reduce her weight to 45 kilograms.

“I have gained a lot of muscles and feel more fit and energetic than I ever have in my life.”

Next year Omaima will take part in the Oman Desert Marathon but her ultimate goal is to run the Marathon des Sables (MdS) in Morocco. Billed as The Toughest Footrace on Earth by Discovery Channel, MdS is a gruelling multi-stage adventure through a mythical landscape in one of the world’s most inhospitable environments – the Sahara desert.

“Nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it,” she said.

By Anjana Kumar

© Al Nisr Publishing LLC 2017. All rights reserved.

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