Athlete runs 104 kilometres barefoot in Dubai for a greener tomorrow

A 34-year-old Indian ultra-marathon athlete and environmental activist ran 104 kilometres in 17 hours and 20 minutes. His run took him through key landmarks in Dubai as part of the Post COP28 initiative.

Aakash Nambiar’s marathon took him through the deserts, beaches and urban areas of Dubai, in a bid to build on the efforts of the recent climate summit. Along the way, he met with members of local communities and discussed how they can make an impact on climate change.

Nicknamed “Barefoot Mallu” for his unique way of running without shoes, Aakash set off from the picturesque Love Lake at 6.40am on Saturday, passing through landmarks such as the Palm Jumeirah, Burj Al Arab, Etihad Museum and finishing at midnight in front of the iconic Burj Khalifa tower.

After completing the race, Mr Nambiar said he was impressed by the friendliness of the people and the world-class infrastructure for walkers and runners.

“There are dedicated paths, short and long, for running in parks and on beaches. The people I met were friendly and I had some great conversations about conservation and the UAE’s ‘net zero’ efforts. We talked about how people can make an individual contribution. How to reduce, recycle and reuse materials. The simple initiative of carrying a reusable water bottle to refill instead of buying a plastic one every time is great. Reducing food waste is another great climate action to reduce emissions,” said the athlete.

Along the way, Aakash met a group of cyclists who were impressed by his efforts to raise awareness about climate change. “Most of them were from European countries. They were interested to know why I was cycling around the city barefoot. We talked about the importance of creating a carbon-free world and they promised me that they too would go green,” the marathoner added.

This is not his first run in the UAE: in 2020, he ran from Abu Dhabi to Dubai during the pandemic to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Source: Khaleej Times

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