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AUS employees complete 90km marathon
Three American University of Sharjah (AUS) community members successfully completed the Comrades 90km ultra-marathon held in South Africa on June 3, 2012. Dr. Paul Williams, Associate Dean of the School of Business and Management; Dr. Nicholas Ashill, Head of the Department of Marketing at the School of Business and Management; and Lee Mitchell, Director of the Wellness Program, completed the run in 11 hours and 47 minutes.
"The Comrades Marathon had an amazing atmosphere. Hundreds of thousands of members of the public showed up for support. Around 19,500 runners started the race, and fewer than 12,000 finished. There was this spiritual dimension to the whole event; you'd almost be bursting into tears before the end," said Williams.
"After running 60km, I started having serious cramps and doubted whether I could actually finish the race. But we stuck together all the way to the finish line. Would I do it again? Probably. At least I can say that I've ticked it off the bucket list," he added.
The Comrades Marathon begins in Pietermaritzburg and finishes in Durban. Participants have 12 hours to finish. Williams, Ashill and Mitchell came in at 10,870th, 10,866th, and 10,868th place, respectively.
"It was an incredible experience. You run the equivalent of a marathon, and then you realize that you're only half-way. What was also incredible was the very varied ages of people who finished. There was this couple in their 70s who still managed to finish," said Mitchell.
"The support was phenomenal. Was the experience life-changing? In a way it was. What you perceive as impossible or hard work, your perceptions change after you run. The marathon teaches you that you can always push your barriers. Running 90km is all about taking one step at a time, all the way. You become so sore and so tired that all you can think about is taking one step ahead. We were also overwhelmed from the amount of support that we received from the AUS community," he added.
"The 12-month training we did in the UAE set us up extremely well to run the 12 hours," said Ashill. "There was an incredible sense of camaraderie, meeting people from different cultures and ethnic backgrounds. For me, the words that I kept saying to myself were 'never give up' and 'keep moving ahead'. I really learned how to manage pain. There were times when we could hardly keep going, but we would never have stopped, as we had a goal to achieve."