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Jordanian athlete to participate in global 777 challenge for cancer awareness

By Sawsan Tabazah - Sep 30,2017 - Last updated at Sep 30,2017

Mostafa Salameh

AMMAN — The Jordanian mountaineer Mostafa Salameh is preparing for a global challenge in 2019 to attract international attention to the suffering of cancer patients.

In a recent phone interview with The Jordan Times, Salameh said that he is scheduled to run seven marathons on seven continents in seven days (“777 challenge”) to raise funds for patients at the King Hussein Cancer Centre (KHCC).

“I want to show that the whole strain is nothing compared to what cancer patients go through,” the athlete explained.

Salameh has already started a 16-month physical and mental training ahead of the challenge, which takesplace in January 2019.

“The seven-day marathon challenge is harder than climbing mountains,” he said, referring to his previous accomplishments as part of the “Explorers’ Grand Slam”. 

In 2017, Salameh became the first Jordanian among 16 people from around the world to have ever achieved the “Explorers’ Grand Slam”, which includes skiing on the North and South Poles and climbing the Seven Summits — the seven highest mountains in the world.

“When you climb mountains, you have time to rest and eat, while in the 777 challenge, time is not an option,” he insisted.

In the “777 challenge”, runners are susceptible to marathon fatigue, jet lag and sleep deprivation in the 168-hour competition. They endure “extreme” geographic and climate changes on a daily basis, with possible temperature variations of 40°-50°C. 

“The challenge will start from Antarctica where temperatures will be around -20°C and, the next day, we will be running in North America where temperatures will be close to 30°C,” Salameh highlighted.

A charter plane will transport Salameh and 34 other competitors between the seven continents.

The 777 website’s annual results have shown that no one from the Arab region has ever finished the competition since its inception in 2015.

Training 

The 47-year-old has been following a strenuous training programme and taking specialised courses to ensure optimum physical ability and mental stamina to strive in extreme conditions.

Part of his daily routine includes 10 kilometres if running, one hour of weightlifting, cycling and swimming.

His training prep will also include three marathons in in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Right before the undertaking the 777 challenge, he said that he participate in a high altitude running training for two months. The low levels of oxygen found at over 4000 metres in the Himalayas and over 2000 metres in Tanzania will help him to  expand his lungs and help him breathe in low-oxygen circumstances. 

“Mental preparation for the challenge is important; discipline to repeat the same tiring physical exercises day after day will help me in the face of some of the worst conditions that mother nature has to offer. Organisation skills, attention to detail and routines will be vital,” he added. 

 

Supporting KHCC 

 

Till date. Salameh has  led two mountain climbing expeditions to raise funds for KHCC as part of the“From the lowest point to the highest peak for cancer” initiative.

He concluded a trek to Everest Base Camp in 2013, through which he raised $600,000 for the KHCC recent expansion. 

In 2014, he was part of a 22-people group that climbed the Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak. 

The initiative helped raise $1.348 million for the expansion project that launched last September. 

In October, the King Hussein Cancer Foundation and the climbing champion will officially launch his next expedition that includes climbing the highest peak in Europe — Mount Elbrus — to raise $1 million for KHCC patients. 

 

Salameh told The Jordan Times that he will accompany a wheelchair bound person in the next expedition, who will become the first person to climb a summit on assisted wheels.

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