Barwa Bank Employee to Attempt 3 Guinness World Records for Ultra Marathons

Doha, 20th January 2014 – Barwa Bank, Qatar's fastest growing Shari’ah compliant banking service provider, is supporting Ziyad Rahim, its Head of Market Risk as he attempts to set three new Guinness World Records in ultra-distance running. As part of his  attempt, Ziyad will be raising awareness for two charities based in the GCC region.

An ultra-marathon is a distance which is longer than the standard 42.2Km marathon and events usually range from 50Km to 100-milers and even multi-day events over varied terrain.

Ziyad’s multiple World Records attempt, dubbed the 777 Challenge, will begin in South America on January 26 and conclude in Africa on March 15. In between the two events, Ziyad will participate in ultra-marathon events covering North America, Asia, Europe, Australia and Antarctica. The current World Record for completing an ultra-marathon on all seven continents, set in 1999, is 267 days :Ziyad aims to break this record and is targeting only 48 days.

Commenting on the challenge, Ziyad admits that it will be a tough ask to run seven ultra-marathons within seven weeks.  He thinks travelling and jet lag will be the biggest challenges. Due to work and family commitments, most of his journeys will be over the weekend.  He went on to say, “Just like my record breaking attempt last year, I will be flying between 10 to 20 hours one way over the weekend, running an ultra and immediately flying back to get to the office”.

Another challenge facing the long-distance runner is the constant variation in temperatures. Some of his races will take place in 35c heat while temperaturesin Antarctica can drop to minus 20c.

Ziyad is now collaborating with Pakistan Welfare Forum, a Qatar-based charity that provides education and medical treatment for life threatening diseases as well as financial assistance for poor families in Qatar (http://www.pwfqatar.org/). Moreover, he is also raising awareness for a UAE based charity, Maria Cristina Foundation (http://mariacristinafoundation.org/) that provides education and medical assistance to underprivileged children in the slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Both these organisations have a tremendous track record in improving the lives of thousands of children by providing excellent education and healthcare facilities.

Steve Troop, CEO, Barwa Bank Group said: “We are extremely proud of Ziyad, who continues to demonstrate not only his immense physical capabilities but also his commitment to making a difference in the lives of those less fortunate. We wish him all the best in his next challenge and look forward to congratulating him on his success when he returns. ”

Ziyad is no stranger to long-distance running and charity fundraising. He currently holds the Guinness World Record, set last year, for the Marathon Grand Slam by completing a marathon on each continent and the North Pole in 41 days.  He achieved the feat while raising awareness for CARE Pakistan, a not-for-profit organisation that provides free education to underprivileged children in Pakistan. Ziyad has also taken part in numerous extreme ultra events around the globe. In 2012, he completed the 250km Marathon Des Sables, considered the toughest footrace on Earth, and teamed up with “Facing Africa” to raise awareness for Noma disease.