Dubai military-style charity event to see nations pitted against each other

Fit and Furious will involve teams of six from 20 different countries competing in a gruelling event to raise money for special-needs charities.

Franky Spencer, third from right, and colleagues attempt a dry run of the stretcher course in Dubai. Competitors say the physical and charity elements are appealing. Sarah Dea /The National
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DUBAI // A military-inspired fundraising event next month will pit some of the UAE’s fittest, strongest and fastest people against each other – nation against nation.

It will be the first time a fitness competition in Dubai has pitted countries against each other and for former military physical training instructor Franky Spencer, Fit and Furious is a chance to invoke the competitive spirit in some of the country’s top athletes.

Mr Spencer is raising money for three special-needs centres in Dubai: Rashid Paediatric Therapy Centre, Manzil Centre and Al Noor Centre for Special Needs.

“These little centres are full of volunteers and are just small centres that don’t have funding to help them,” he said.

Twenty teams of six who qualify to compete will go up against each other in a military-inspired stretcher race, where each team carries a weighted stretcher the length of a football pitch before sprinting back with the empty stretcher to reload it with more weights.

In each leg of the race, the weight on the stretcher will increase from 20kg up to as much as 400kg. Each event will take five minutes but will require a mix of strength, speed and endurance.

The men-only event, to be held at the English College Dubai in Jumeirah 3, has the approval of Emirates Red Crescent.

Winners of the Dh10,000, Dh15,000 and Dh50,000 prizes will donate the money to the centres.

“These guys won’t care about giving the money away,” Mr Spencer said. “I don’t need to incentivise these guys with cash. There’s nothing better than a bit of competition, especially nation versus nation.”

He has had interest from 60 countries, he said.

Future events will be open to women but the inaugural event is for men.

Mounir Lazzez, 27, is a professional MMA fighter and hopes to lead a team in the event.

The Tunisian said: “I’m an athlete but I don’t always want to be fighting. I want to be part of something great for a great cause.”

Although the competition is different to his usual training, Mr Lazzez said it will still be a “very hard, physical test”.

Danish expatriate Tomas Kristianson, 40, works in security. He is on the lookout for other Danes to join his team.

“I’ve done many competitions here like Wadi Bih, Wadi Adventure Race and the Spartan Race and I love being active but this will be a challenge,” he said.

Mr Kristianson said the charity aspect is part of the appeal. “More events should be geared towards charity like this,” he said.

Qualifiers for the event on November 28 will take place the weekend before, November 20 and 21, at Fitness HQ on Umm Suqeim Road. For more information, go to Facebook and search for Fit and Furious.

mswan@thenational.ae