Four women set to make history by travelling around Qatar on foot

Source :By Alexandra Evangelista/ The Peninsula Online

Ahead of the National Sports Day, "The Desert Roses" will attempt to make history as the first women to circumnavigate Qatar, on foot. Starting on Friday, the four female ultra-runners will begin camping by the roadside and take on the 500 kilometre distance by walking, jogging, and running around the periphery of the country in a period of five days (Feb 5-9).


The Desert Roses, composed of Stephanie Innes-Smith and Isobel Bushell from the UK; Heather Lee from Canada; and Ross Ayuro from The Philippines, share a common passion for running. With a shared history on sporting activities and belonging to the same running community, the four women were able to establish a team that could try the record-breaking adventure in the country.

The group’s goal does not simply end by completing the 500 kilometre distance. Much like the team's name, "The Desert Roses" also wants to highlight and encourage exploration in the country beyond Doha, its capital city. The challenge also serves a greater vision to inspire women and girls to engage in challenging, arduous outdoor activities. They also aim to raise the profile of female sporting competence in Qatar as well as to inspire amateur athletes to set

ambitious and unconventional personal goals.

In an interview with the Qabayan Radio, teacher and army reservist Stephanie Innes-Smith shared: "We certainly feel we're in a position where we're able to try and I think anyone can start small and build up and be committed to it." With two teachers in the same team, Isobel Bushell and Innes-Smith, their passion for sports and running also ties with their vision to lead the students they teach by setting as an example. Educational Psychologist Heather Lee and finance professional Ross Ayuro completes the team. "Our other message is to children, again you're never too young to start and you just get involved and get going. You never know, you might really like it," Innes-Smith added. Ahead of the journey, preparations and training are underway along with identifying inevitable challenges they might encounter such as food supply, weather conditions and the on-going pandemic. The quartet received overwhelming support from local sports communities, such as a Filipino cycling community and the Doha Bay Running Club (DBRC), who are willing to accompany the team and be of help along the journey. Bringing the community spirit ahead of the much-awaited Qatar National Sports Day on February 9, The Desert Roses have a few days to go to gear up and train for the historical record that could mark them as the first women to travel around Qatar, by foot. Also speaking to Qabayan Radio, Filipina expat Ayuro shared a short message to all amateur athletes and fellow runners ahead of the 500 kilometre challenge. "Do whatever you can with whatever you have and wherever we are, in line with Qatar's vision 2030, like spreading sporting awareness and get involved in physical activities," Ayuro concluded.ambitious and unconventional personal goals.

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