Former 100kg UAE Athlete Aces Global Marathons

Man in marathon


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Abdulla AlShehhi has faced various challenges as a runner in the UAE, where the sport is less popular compared to others.

He once struggled to stay on a treadmill for a few minutes without getting winded. Today, however, Abdulla has completed 15 marathons, both within the UAE and internationally.

Beginning of the Journey

Hailing from Ras Al Khaimah, this long-distance runner started his fitness journey over a decade ago when he was determined to lose weight.

At that time, he weighed around 100kg. Abdulla began with a strict exercise routine, initially running short distances.

In 2014, while walking around Ras Al Khaimah, a marathon advertisement on a billboard caught his eye.

This sparked his interest, leading him to participate in his first marathon in Dubai. Since then, his commitment to a healthy lifestyle has propelled him to join marathons beyond the UAE.

Abdulla's most recent accomplishment was completing the Boston Marathon in April, where he earned the prestigious ‘Six Star Finisher Medal’.

Introduced by the Abbott World Marathon Majors in 2016, this medal honors runners who complete all six major world marathons.

Abdulla continues to set new goals, believing this is key to staying motivated. He advises others to do the same in their pursuits.

Working as an engineer at Adnoc, Abdulla’s job requires him to stay on an island for two weeks each month, with shifts running from 6am to 6pm.

He manages to fit in his runs either early in the morning or after his shift ends. Abdulla often trains by running multiple laps around the small island.

Though running is not as popular in the UAE as other sports, and the hot summer weather poses a challenge, Abdulla adapts by using indoor running halls in Abu Dhabi or working out at the gym.

Nevertheless, he prefers running outdoors, even in the summer, capitalizing on cooler temperatures in the early morning or evening.

Running as a Stress-Buster

For Abdulla, running offers a great way to relieve stress, helping him feel more centered in both his personal and professional life.

He recalls a stressful day when he ran 15 kilometers without even realizing it. The COVID-19 pandemic presented significant challenges, restricting him to running back and forth in his hotel room during lockdowns.

Despite these obstacles, Abdulla remains committed to his passion for running.

Future Aspirations

Looking ahead, Abdulla dreams of participating in races on every continent. He also hopes for a marathon that can unite all the Gulf countries.


Abdulla's story demonstrates the power of setting goals and maintaining dedication, no matter the challenges.

His achievements serve as an inspiration for anyone looking to transform their life through fitness and perseverance.


Source: khaleejtimes

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