While many of us would wince at the idea of running a half-marathon or competing in a triathlon, a father and son duo in Dubai have competed in over 200 gruelling fitness events over the past five years.
The Watsons – better known as Team Angel Wolf – spend nearly every weekend taking part in races around the UAE.
Now the duo of Nick and Rio are taking on the 21km CBD Palm Run this weekend in preparation for the Abu Dhabi Marathon on December 6, where they will raise awareness, acceptance and inclusion of children with disabilities across the Emirates.
At the centre of Team Angel Wolf is 16-year-old Rio, who suffers from 1q44 deletion denovo syndrome, which means he struggles with walking and communicates through sign language. He loves
being involved in fitness events and is a very happy, loving boy.
And, whether it’s a run, swim or straight cycling race, the pair are always out in force and getting the community behind the work they do, supported by Rio’s mum Delphine and younger sister Tia, or ‘Little Wolf.’
Two weeks ago, Team Angel Wolf marked their 200th event at the Dubai Run where His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, came over and joined them for a couple of kilometers of the run.
As part of its mission to raise awareness of children in the UAE with disabilities and to facilitate their involvement in sport, Team Angel Wolf will take their message of tolerance and inclusion to the Abu Dhabi Marathon next month.
“Our focus is to spread awareness of children with disabilities, and most importantly to include our son Rio in all the activities that we do,” said Watson, a former Royal Marine and fitness expert, who has been a Dubai resident since 1996.
The duo have done a tremendous amount to achieve their aims and now they will boost engagement within the Abu Dhabi community, encouraging greater participation of people of determination in the capital.
“With that, we also want to encourage other families who have kids with determinations and get involved with the activities and races and everything that we do. Within our season, we look at key events that could bring awareness, exposure and inclusion,” he said.
In the five years since their first event at the Dubai International Triathlon, Nick and Rio have biked, swam and ran over 6,000km – the distance from Dubai to Ireland.
“The Abu Dhabi Marathon is hopefully going to become an iconic race for the region, and like
anything, we’d love to get involved and support. And because we are based in Dubai, we want to do more also in Abu Dhabi going forward,” he said.
“Rather than me pushing Rio, the key was to have at least another two chairs and push two other children with disabilities, and then we have two friends who can run as well.
“As a non-profit organisation, we would love to be working with government entities in the private
section and getting involved in more events in Abu Dhabi. Our focus is to spread the story as far as we can. We also have plans to do some international events next year.”
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