Dubai resident runs almost 200 km from Jebel Jais to Burj Al Arab in incredible feat
At one point, Nick got an injury in the middle of the desert and had to fashion his socks into a bandage
A sock fashioned as a knee support, a craving for coke and ice cream, and a 23-hour run marked one expat’s gruelling run from Jebel Jais to Burj al Arab.
Nico de Corato, or Abu Hamdan, as he is lovingly called, ran almost 200km in 2 days, passing through the desert of Ras Al Khaimah, Mangrove Beach in Umm al Quwain and several other tourist spots in the UAE.
“It was very challenging,” said Nico, speaking to Khaleej Times. “This is the farthest I have ever run at exactly 198.1km. The temperature variation was really high. At Jebel Jais it was almost 0 degrees and in the desert, it was 30 degrees. There were three times when I thought I could not go ahead. But I powered on and I did it.”
Supported by Dubai Sports Council, Nico began his run on Sunday, January 29, at 6.45am and arrived at the Burj Al Arab at 4.20 pm on Monday, January 30. “I ran for 23 hours over 2 days,” he said. “On the first day I was expecting to run 100km, but I felt fit and was able to run an extra 25km. After rest and a good meal, I was awake at 4am the next day, before my alarm went off.”
On the second day of the run, Nico left the road to run over some sand dunes, but it was a grave mistake. “While running over the dunes, I fell and injured my knee,” he said. “I was in the middle of nowhere. There was no place for me to get bandages. I eventually had to fashion my socks into a bandage and then complete the rest of the run.”
Nico said the last 15km were the hardest. “I was not able to eat anything,” he said. “I was near to giving up, but I wanted to show people that anyone can do such extraordinary feats if they put their mind to it.”
This isn’t the first time Nico has attempted something so physically demanding. In December 2019, he ran a 140 km solo run through the desert in Dubai on the occasion of National Day, to celebrate his love for the UAE. The father-of-two has been a resident of the country since 2004.
Nico’s preparation for this run spanned an entire year, during which his mother passed away. “I had to go back to Italy, and I had to take care of my father,” he said. “I was with my wife, who was ‘single-parenting’ for almost eight weeks, while simultaneously training.”
The Italian spent months researching nutrition and experimenting with different food to create an elaborate diet plan for his run that included an intake of 10,000 calories each day. “It consisted of bananas, chocolate and peanut butter among other things,” he said. “I also needed something that was easily digestible, so I carried a blender with me to make milkshakes. I also carried a lot of energy gels.”
However, he admits that at least a part of the plan went out of the window when he started running. “After a point, I started vomiting when eating the gel, so I stopped at a cafeteria and had a coke and ice cream,” he said.
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