14 Jan 2018 - 10:17
Kids from Qatar break Antarctica Marathon record
By Irfan Bukhari | The Peninsula
DOHA: Zara Rahim (11) and Mekaal Rahim (9), residents of Qatar, have broken the record for the youngest female, male respectively in the world to complete a full marathon in Antarctica.
They broke the record previously set by a 12-year-old girl and 10-year-old boy - both Americans. The KGI Classic Marathon 2017, Antarctica was tough as it took place in December during the start of summer season.
“It snowed for 3 days before the event so the flights were delayed. In order to save time, the organisers decided to hold the Magellan Marathon on December 14 and the one in Antarctica on December 16. So within 2 days the kids ran 42km in gruelling conditions on both the continents,” said Ziyad Rahim, father of athletes.
“The underfoot conditions in Antarctica were extremely tough with 12 inches of snow on most parts of the course. The temp was about -10c which is about 40c colder than the temp is Qatar where they live.”
In Chile, the Patagonian wind was extremely strong as the runners experienced blistering conditions running on the Punta Arenas promenade along the Southern Ocean.
Originally hailing from Pakistan, both Zara and Mekaal have been taking part in long-distance races since they were 4-years-old. Till today, they have completed four full marathons in Europe, South America, Antarctica and Africa.
Their last full marathon was in Pretoria, South Africa on December 29; which was their 3rd full marathon in 14 days across 3 continents.
This month they will run in North America followed by Asia in February and the final continent will be Australia in March 2018. Upon completion, it would make them the youngest male and female in the world to complete the 7 continents journey.
Talking to The Peninsula, Mekaal said: “I met Mo Farah in Mall of Qatar on Wednesday. He wished me happy birthday and gave me an autograph. I was so happy. Then during the Ooredoo Marathon he ran the 3K race with me. When I grow up, I want to be like Mo”.
Both Zara and Mekaal take part in local running, Aquathon and Triathlon events in Qatar. They have completed almost 100 long-distance events in 15 countries.
In 2016 and 2017, they were part of the Southern Caribbean Challenge where they ran 7k, 10K and half marathons on 6 Caribbean Islands and one race on the cruise ship.
In the local athletics circuit in Doha, they regularly win 3K and 5K events in the junior categories as well as Triathlons. Mekaal ran his first 3K race at Dubai Marathon at the age of 3 while Zara was 4 when she took part in her first race.
They are global travellers and have so far travelled to 61 countries covering 6 continents. Their father, Ziyad Rahim, also holds 10 Guinness world records in long-distance running but his children want to beat his record when they grow up.
Talking to The Peninsula, Ziyad Rahim said: “I never realised that both of them would complete 4 marathons on 4 continents so comfortably; especially with all the long travels to get to these places. Even I was tired travelling for 28 hours on a plane to Chile, but they stayed awake most of time watching movies on the plane. Then they managed to complete 2 marathons within 3 days in Chile and Antarctica under tough conditions. They are mentally very strong and surprised both my wife and I.”