Fitness enthusiasts in the kingdom are limbering up for a unique event, scheduled for next Saturday, that will test their mettle and their endurance to the limit.
The XLR8 Ramadan Night Run, a 10km team relay race designed to encourage people to try and achieve their fitness goals during the holy month, will take place next Saturday at the Lost Paradise of Dilmun under the patronage of Supreme Council for Youth and Sport first deputy chairman, General Sports Authority chairman and Bahrain Olympic Committee president Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
In the race, each team, consisting of four runners, will take turns in running different lengths of the 10km course – in four, three, two and one km stretches. The format adds to the excitement of the competition and creates a challenge for the athletes to try and work together to finish the race ahead of other teams.
With anticipation high for the eagerly awaited challenge, more than 400 people of all ages are expected to participate in the race in different categories.
“We’re expecting more than 400 people to take part in the race,” Suzy Al Zeerah, one of the event’s organisers and a former Ironman triathlete herself, told the GDN. “That is roughly the same number of athletes that took part in the first such race held in June, 2019, before Covid struck.”
Different categories in the event, which is open to all fitness levels, include Overall Male Team, Overall Female Team, Overall Mix Team, Corporate, Military, Schools and Universities, Clubs, Special Needs and Wheelchair.
Children will also be able to join in the fun in an Under-13 race during the family-friendly event with food and beverages proffered in plentiful supply.
“This race is one of new initiatives and events being undertaken in the sports industry,” Al Zeerah, who is one of a handful of women in Bahrain to have completed full Ironman competitions, explained. “The name it’s been given – ‘XLR8’ – basically means ‘accelerate’ and it’s intended to contribute towards speeding up the health and fitness initiatives of Bahraini citizens as part of the commitment to the kingdom’s 2030 Vision programme through the development of enterprises that ensure Bahrain’s social and economic sustainability.”
Al Zeerah, who also served previously as the head of marketing and communications for the Bahrain and Dubai Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championships, competed in the Ironman challenge in Nice, France, in 2014 and in the Challenge Roth – held in the Bavarian town of Roth in Germany – in 2016.
“As a former sportsperson, promoting sports is both a hobby and a passion for me,” she explained. “Organising the XLR8 event – which is intended to be a regular, annual feature from now on, with the type of race varying every year – is a privilege because it will hopefully inspire many more people in Bahrain to be health- and fitness-conscious in the future.”