Zolotova to run 350km to raise money for Syrian children

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Olga Zolotova.

Partnering with Jusoor, a US non-profit organisation that has been working in Lebanon since 2013, the 25-year-old Russian national will run seven ultra-marathons in as many days across the country’s seven emirates at the end of May.

With temperatures expected to reach in excess of 40 degrees during the day, the UAE resident has chosen to run between 2am-8am each night such is the toll of the desert heat.

Syria’s situation is well known, with war ravaging the country and leaving behind nearly one million refugees roaming the land.

Zolotova recently travelled to the Syrian border through Lebanon, an experience that led her to taking on this challenge.

“I have a lot of friends from Syria and I know a lot of people who actually moved from Syria to Dubai who lost their parents and relatives,” Olga told Sport360. “This is something that it happening in front of me and that’s why I chose this one.”

“It was a big eye-opener. I expected the situation to be a lot better than it was. It is that bad, as described by the media. I talked to the people, most of whom have lost their parents.”

“I understand education and children in developing countries is a broad subject, but I went to a specific school here, met the kids physically. These are people I know now and I want to help. It’s not just some broad charity.”

Olga is no stranger to extreme challenges and cycled 400km across the UAE in the space of 24 hours last October for Children Cancer Hospital in Karachi.

Olga with some of the kids at the school in Syria.

Olga with some of the kids at the school in Syria.

Two months later, she ran 200km in 22.5 hours in Dubai for Egypt-based charity organisation Marwa Fayed’s Toy Run and Aramax. It proved a massive success as the team managed to collect 100kgs of toys from Dubai residents.

However, being such a newcomer to running, Olga’s latest crusade is all the more challenging.

“The most important question to ask before any challenge is what are you ready to go through and to sacrifice in order to achieve the target of completing an ultra-marathon. I honestly think the training is more challenging than the actual event. It takes months and months of ups and downs and it’s a mental and emotional pressure,” said Olga.

“I run 3-4 days per week and usually it is a combination of interval training with long aerobic runs. Every week I am covering 50-60 km on average. Another three days are allocated to the gym where I practice strength and general physical exercises.”

“Running has to become as essential and regular as I would eat a meal. You have to do it slowly and steadily. When I started running, 2-3 km was my limit. Now 15 km is the shortest distance I run. Patience and dedication is the key. I always train regularly and regardless of weather conditions.”

If people want to know more about the school they can contact Oga directly at: [email protected]

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