With the Dubai Fitness Challenge in full swing, many UAE residents are getting in their daily 30-minute workouts.
However, coaches from inclusive sports community Heroes of Hope took it to the next level this weekend, holding a non-stop 24-hour workout challenge to raise awareness for a good cause.
The organisation, which is an affiliated partner of the Special Olympics and part of the Ma’an Social Incubator programme, offers sporting activities to more than 150 people of determination aged 3 to 40.
From 6pm on Thursday, November 19 to 6pm on Friday, November 20, seven coaches from the non-profit organisation worked out for 24 hours to honour their athletes of determination.
“It was definitely an experience and a true reflection of the coaches’ dedication to working with the athletes of determination,” said founder Hollie Murphy, 33. “It was very intense, very emotional. But we wanted to create awareness and be a voice for the athletes and their families.”
The event took place at 24 Fitness Dubai, in Al Quoz, with 24 hourly workouts, each honouring one of the Heroes of Hope athletes. The Alex, for instance, was an obstacle course that took place to the soundtrack of Super Mario, while the Kieran had coaches tackle a football-based workout inspired by its namesake's love of the game.
The workouts were designed to ensure the coaches had ample time in between to hydrate, eat and rest.
Each Heroes of Hope athlete was invited to participate in their namesake workout alongside the coaches, while other community members were also invited to participate throughout the day.
According to Murphy, this made the event all the more special. “For most of the workouts, we had one of the athletes present to honour them. For the workouts that took place at night, we had the families of the athletes who came to support us. Everyone continued to encourage each other; it was amazing to have that support and see the community behind us. We really enjoyed it and are glad to have achieved it.”
The main goal of the initiative, according to Murphy, was to create awareness of the important role sport plays in lives of people of determination. “We want to increase the opportunities and access here in the UAE for healthy active living,” she says.
While the initiative has been inspired by the athletes, it also honours their families. "Our Families of Hope are with their children who have additional needs 24 hours a day. For us, this is only 24 hours, but [the] families don't get any breaks. Our athletes inspire us but the parents are also heroes. They show us what real unconditional love is."