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WCM-Q doctor runs more than 100km for National Sport Day Doha

Dr. Arash Rafii-Tabrizi (far right), was joined by a number of other runners for the endurance marathon.
Dr. Arash Rafii-Tabrizi (far right), was joined by a number of other runners for the endurance marathon.

A doctor and cancer expert at Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar celebrated National Sport Day by running non-stop – for 24 hours.

Dr. Arash Rafii-Tabrizi, professor of genetic medicine in obstetrics and gynecology, took on the grueling challenge to raise awareness of the benefits of running and healthy lifestyles in general.

Supported by Sahtak Awalan – Your Health First, WCM-Q’s public health campaign, Dr. Tabrizi set off from the Green Spine at Qatar Foundation at 4pm on Monday, finishing at the same spot at 4pm on Tuesday, having repeatedly run a lengthy route around Education City. He estimated he ran around 140km.

The run went on throughout the night.

Dr. Tabrizi, who is an experienced ultra-runner, said: “Running for this distance and this length of time is never easy, but the course is flat and I’ve had a lot of support from the community which has been great.

“My primary motivation, though, has been to highlight the amazing journey over the last 25 years of Qatar Foundation; a project that is unique in the Middle East.

“The ideology and goals of QF, launched under the vision of Her Highness Sheikha Moza, have been transformative and have made education a priority, putting it at the forefront of the nation’s development. In this context, National Sport Day is a logical evolution of this, providing a bridge between body and mind.

“So, the fact that the community joined in the run, despite its difficulties, really demonstrates the positive impact that Qatar Foundation has had on the psyche of the nation.”

No stranger to ultra-marathons, Dr. Tabrizi has completed around a dozen of the extreme races. In 2012 he completed the 119km Ultra-Trail Mont du Blanc race that follows a mountainous route through France, Italy and Switzerland. In 2014, he completed a 360km ultra-marathon around Qatar to raise awareness of women’s cancer issues, and in 2018 he finished the 330km Tour de Géants through the Italian Alps, which saw him run for a total of 120 hours, finally finishing 165th out of 850 and having snatched just 12 hours sleep over five days.

For the 24-hour Run 4 Your Health challenge around Education City, Dr. Tabrizi was supported by a number of other runners and members of the public, who each joined him for a short time.

Another experienced ultra-runner, Mohammad Allam, ran the entire course with him.

Mr Allam explained why he wanted to take part: “For me, the most important aspect of this event has been to highlight the health benefits of running," he said. "The cardiovascular benefits are obvious, but it also helps strengthen the joints, improves bone mass and improves your mental health; running, or indeed any exercise can literally help you to become happier through the release of endorphins.

“I hope that this run has helped inspire others to lace up their trainers and go for a run.”