Embassy Employee Wins Dubai Marathon Wheelchair Competition
Abeer Al Sharif, a Jordanian national employed at the US Embassy in Riyadh, won the 42.195km marathon wheelchair event at the Dubai International Marathon on January 16, 2009. This was her first race of any kind.
"It is so good to become the first Jordanian to win a marathon. If my win will encourage more wheelchair bound people to attempt to race in marathons, I will be very happy," says Al Sharif.
Achilles, a charity organization that donates specialized wheelchairs for competitors, donated a wheelchair to Al Sharif.
Al Sharif decided to attempt her first wheelchair race after meeting Richard Ryan, an American employed at the US Embassy in Riyadh. Ryan, a former marathon runner who now races in the wheelchair division due to injury, agreed to train her. In preparation for the race, Al Sharif trained six days per week for 10 weeks. Ryan’s program included endurance work, strength training, flexibility and nutrition.
With one gold medal under her belt, Ms. Al Sharif is gearing up for future competitions. “This victory has given me a boost,” she says. “My next goal is to compete in the New York City Marathon in November.”