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Jordanian runner completes ‘world’s toughest foot race’ in US

AMMAN — Forty-seven -year-old runner Mohammad Al Sweity has recently completed the Badwater Ultra-marathon, making himself the very first Jordanian to complete the race.
“My running performance wasn’t that bad as I haven’t trained well and didn’t adjust my body to the weather due to the fasting during the holy month of Ramadan,” said Sweity, after completing the gruelling Badwater Ultra-marathon in the US on  July 10-12. 
To prepare for the ordeal of running 217km in the scorching heat, the runner had to endure long hours of training and acclimatisation, Sweity explained. 
The Badwater Ultra-marathon, held annually, is described by its organisers as “the world’s toughest foot race”. It starts 85 metres under the sea level in the Valley of Death in California, in the mid-July, when temperatures are often above 50°C, and continues all the way to Whitney Portal (2,548 metres above sea level), the organisers stated, adding that very few people are capable of finishing the race, which was founded in 1977. 
Whitney Portal is a trail-head leading up to Mount Whitney summit which stretches over 4,421 metres, Sweity said, noting that many runners cannot complete the race because of the high altitude and extreme heat.
Sweity was the first Jordanian runner who participated in and finished the ultra-marathon, clinching 59th place among 95 participants, of whom 20 could not complete the run. 
“The race posed several difficulties,” he explained, citing “the distance was too long; the terrain was very tough, especially at the beginning of the race in which the elevation is between 85 metres below the sea level and an elevation of 2,548 metres; and the temperature was very high, ranging from 48°C degrees to 52°C”. 
Sweity underlined that he used to stop at every station and sleep from five to 15 minutes, drink water and tea. Completing the race took him around 41h53m51s, he added. 
 “The most difficult chunk was after I crossed 150km,” the athlete told The Jordan Times in a recent interview. 
He explained: “There was a very hilly area which forced me to run 24km uphill, during which I felt terribly tired and sleepy… I was trying my best to keep it under control.” 
Thanks to his team, which followed on the crew’s vehicle, he managed to overcome all obstacles and finish the race, he emphasised. 
“I want to thank the whole crew for their patience and continuous support who helped me cross the finish line, especially the very well-known ultra-runner champion Noura Sarhan, originally Jordanian, who was the team leader of the crew, her son Samir Aleddina and my dear friend Samir Qattan from Jordan,” he concluded.  
 
Jordan Times 
August 9, 2017