For most people, the concept of staying up for a period of 24 hours is out of the question. The idea that someone would not only stay up for 24 hours, but continue to move, is beyond comprehension. However, Aziz has long since sought to do the incomprehensible.
On the outside, Aziz appears to have it all. An accomplished triathlete, he swims, runs and cycles his way across various countries and terrains with a smile on his face. On the inside, a heart of gold beats for our less fortunate friends – the animals.
The majority of Kuwait’s sports community are well aware of Aziz, whose friendly ‘Atta boys’, antics and whacky costumes go far in cheering people to take the next step towards the finish line.
Many among us will donate their time and some money for animal welfare, Aziz went above and beyond, and on a hot summer’s day last March, he set out to move all over Kuwait for 24 hours straight to raise money for the animal shelters. What most people do not know is that prior to that, he had been busy flying around the Gulf participating in marathons where he successfully placed in the top 3 on several occasions; the prize money went towards his cause.
What made you decide to do this?
I like exploring my physical limits and figured this challenge would do the job. I wanted to make it more meaningful hence the run4theanimals came into play. I follow a couple of local rescue groups and continuously see the increasing hospital bills of injured animals. I hoped to make a difference.
How many pets do you currently have?
One male cat, two dogs (male and female) and two goldfish: Casperburger, Linkalous James, Daisy Doodles Madison, Fred and Barney.
Before this, what was the longest distance you ran?
How many kilometers did you cover?
Around 134 km.
What did you discover about yourself whilst moving for 24 hours?
I realized how incredibly blessed I am to have amazing friends and family who went out of their way to support, cheer, run and bring supplies to me. (French fries really kept me going).
How did it work exactly, did you keep moving or did you pause your watch to rest?
I never paused my watch, except by accident and only for a second. During my breaks I’d quickly charge my watch and phone so that I could keep the live location up for whoever wanted to join.
How much were you able to raise?
Just about KD 1800. I was ecstatic to reach my donation goal and so thankful for all the generosity out there.
Would you do it again?
Tell us something that happened along the way that you wouldn’t want people to know.
There were some interesting bathroom breaks along the way…
Any special thanks you wish to give?
To everyone one who helped make this a successful, memorable event. I truly have never, ever felt so much love in one day. Special thanks goes to: Fatemah Alghanim for the much needed sunscreen. Aziz and Ahmed for lacing up and clocking in good mileage. Asmi Khan for making t-shirts to support the cause! Diya for coming out and running twice, and to her family for supporting! Pablo, Ichi and Dagza, for their magnanimous support and clocking in 24 kilometers! Mullet and Betool for the push and laughs! May and her family for the goodie bag of gels. Jonathan Wick for providing the yummy chewables and dates as well as being a great support vehicle! Joel Cruz, Emz Antonio, Emily and Cherish Ann, who came at the right time with a boost of energy and great signs! Ma Estela Barros for staying until the end as a support car and having medical supplies on standby. Elmimso Desiempre for the surprise guest appearance, the memories and laughs! Khaled for setting a new PR earlier that morning then coming out to clock additional mileage. Justi Medelo and Rima for the supplies and the support vehicle. India Satya for the much needed massage. Pascal and Sofie, for going out of their way to support even after a long night out! Melwyn Pereira for his company and conversations during the final countdown. Jalil Marvin for capturing the last moments of the run! My big brother Hesham Al-Khamis who, despite being halfway across the world, still made an appearance on Instagram Live and helped kick off the first kilometers of the run. Honorary thanks goes to Mr. Charlie Burns, husband to the amazing Chal De Leon Burns who rescued four kitties himself. His continuous words of encouragement made it feel like he was running beside me. I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for my lovely, kind hearted, give-her-last-fils-to-a-stranger mother, Cheryl Kraft. She brought all the reinforcements and nutritious foods to help keep the entire support crew fed. To everyone who liked, commented, and shared the posts, sent words of encouragement and donated to this cause, the biggest thank you goes out to you all!! This could not have been possible without each and every one of you.
Who would you say supported you the most?
My better half, Stacey “The Manager” Murakami,hands down! The list of her support is unending. She was the Queen Bee in this, taking care of EVERYTHING from dropping me off at the starting point (meters from the Saudi Arabian border) to being the main support vehicle, a taxi for supporters, my mobile aid station being by my side almost the entire run, buying supplies and providing moral support when times got rough. For that I am remarkably blessed and grateful! Love you!
What would you like to impart to the readers?
Be kind to ALL living things on this planet. Do something good for others, no matter how big or small it is.
Images courtesy of @events.n.kuwait