We as humans attempt to do several things in life. Especially, in the increasingly aware world dominated by the health conscious, a vast majority of us try to maintain healthy lifestyles. We tend to jog for a day, and then two – but come the third, we often fall short of endurance. It’s seldom an issue with our physicality, but one with the mentality. In order for a person to truly excel in what they do, they need a strong will power – one which Ahmed Athif has plenty.
An aspiring triathlete, Athif had no interest in ‘running’ just for the heck of it at first. As he says, the initial stages of developing that interest began with a challenge with a sibling; running a lap around Male’ city in 20 minutes. A few nights of hard work later, Athif was able to achieve this goal – and from there on, it only went forward.
With goals that were considered far-fetched, Athif began to push himself physically during 2015. A new routine of physical activities – swimming, biking and running were added to his schedule. As he saw his personal timings being beat time and again, his interest for running only became stronger. After having participated in the Dhiraagu Maldives Road Race and Singapore Chartered Marathon, he began to look for something that was physically and mentally more demanding – and his search came to a rest with the ‘MV50 Ultra-Run’.
The first ultra-run in the Maldives, the MV50 Ultra-Run was a 50-hour long running event that took place during the last 50 hours of the year 2015 – and during the event, the rising star shone bright. Athif then set out for his goal to run for 24 hours. An announcement faced with negativity, Athif never let it get to him. At the end of those 24 hours, Athif had completed a total of 27 laps around Male’ City, running for a whopping 146 km! As impressive this was, the highlight of this was the proceedings of it – which were donated to the special needs center in Kaafu Atoll Guraidhoo.
In his words, the run took great mental strength. Past the first few hours, his body completely gives way to stop. With every muscle of his body screaming to stop, he pulled through – for the cause he was running for, and to prove that he can. And with that, he became the endurance athlete we know today – proving every single word of negative criticism against the run wrong.
Between then and now, Athif has already beat his personal best in a continuous run. He completed the North Downs Way 100 in UK, a 100 mile ultra-run in 29 hours – getting through several obstacles. The hardest of which, as he described was running during the night in a forest – where the route was marked only through ribbons. During the marathon, Athif went off-route several times and lead to a total distance of 175 km being run in the end. In addition to that, the routes were uphill and downhill – something he was not prepared for since he had only practiced on a level surface in Male’ City – but despite the odds, he continued to prove that he had the endurance to do it.
With such achievements to his name, Athif is today gearing up to yet another physically challenging activity. A dream, to row around the waters of Maldives in an effort to voice environmental concerns and raise public awareness, Athif aims to row continuously every day, eventually covering about 2100 km! With training and preparation already underway, Athif faces a great challenge – as he is a rather seasick person in real life.
With the power of his will, Athif has accomplished great feats that some of us would find hard to imagine. Though people initially doubted his abilities, he never focused on such – mind on his goals, he has pushed himself mentally to complete some of his goals. And to anyone who wishes to do such a thing, Athif’s advice is to never focus on the negativity – as he himself has done. His words of appreciation were directed towards his coach, Naseer Ismail – who stood by him through it all, from teaching him to run to giving him the much needed support!
We at Maldeeb, wish him a bright future ahead – drawing inspiration from the likes of Bear Grylls he still has a long way to go.