What’s On has details of incredible Dubai runner who completed seven ultramarathons over seven continents in just seven weeks.
Dubai resident Maria Conceicao has won two Guinness World Records after completing the gruelling 777 Ultramarathon Challenge.
The Portuguese national ran a 50km ultramarathon in each of the seven continents, in under seven weeks. A regular marathon is 42km.
Maria’s second record was the fastest aggregate time in completing an ultramarathon on seven continents.
No stranger to records, Maria in 2013 became the first Portuguese woman and third Portuguese national to summit Mount Everest.
She began the 777 Challenge in Antarctica in January 2014, continuing to South America, Asia, Europe and Australia in February, and finally North America and Africa in March.
The Antarctic ultramarathon followed a hilly course over snow, ice, gravel and mud, while the Chile leg was blighted by strong winds. In Asia, Maria reached an altitude of 1,112m in Wadi Bih, Oman, and in the UK she ran through severe flooding during a night ultramarathon. Completing the challenge in South Africa, Maria came first in her age category of 35 to 39.
All Maria’s feats of endurance are in aid of the charity she founded in 2005: the Maria Cristina Foundation (MCF). Funds raised help support slum children in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a city she first visited as a member of Emirates cabin crew. Maria was shocked by the plight of children in Dhaka, and resolved to help them out of poverty through education. MCF currently supports over 200 children in primary, secondary and college education programmes.
“At MCF we need more funding, more scholarships for children, and more employment opportunities for families under the foundation,” Maria told ourdooruae.com.
“I hope my effort will show people how serious I am, and what lengths I will go to help the impoverished. I hope this opens new doors and leads to new opportunities, be it me being a guest speaker at events, or endorsing brands as a humanitarian or as an athlete. I have now completed several extreme challenges and have many more planned.”
Among other accolades, Maria was named Emirates Woman of the Year 2009.
© Imran Ahmed – featured image