We’ve asked Omar Abu Omar, a well-liked, everyday kind of guy, human in our Dubai community to talk briefly about his life as part of the “Your Good Human” stories.
Here he shares the steps he took that led him to combine his hobby with philanthropy.
Where do I start.. Hmm. Well, hi! I am Omar Abu Omar (yes, I have an identical first and last name). I am a Palestinian in my late twenties and been born, raised and educated in Dubai. I lead a normal life with little that I think stands out, but I have this obsession with running which I’ve had for several years now. I’ve always been running; running to drive away bad thoughts, tension, negativity and the blues of the day. And I started when I was a teenager, running for fun where I’d jog for a couple of hundred meters, walk for a few minutes and then resume running. It was only till a couple of years ago when I was encouraged by a friend to sign up to a big 10k long race in Dubai, at the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon. The adrenalin rush and the post-race sensation, the ecstatic feeling of having completed a challenge I never saw myself taking part in, were all factors that made me even more interested in running and in pushing myself further. A few months later I decided to challenge myself again but with a half-marathon. My objective was simply to finish it without stopping and surprisingly, I did and actually had enough endurance to complete it comfortably. A bunch of other races came up after that with distances that varied from 5k to half a marathon, but less than a year after completing my first half-marathon, I had enough loose wires in my head to take on a full one. All 42.2 kilometres of it. I started training for one in Jordan, the Dead Sea marathon, not knowing what to expect or how I would finish it and what was ahead. Needless to say, I managed to complete it and although it was an agonising and painful experience, all of those feelings vanish soon after you cross the finish line and the lasting memory that remains is the overwhelming feeling of “OMG! I JUST FINISHED A FULL FRIGGING MARATHON!”
Since then, I’ve taken part in several other short distance races and a couple of full marathons in Istanbul and Madrid. For the latter, I decided to do some charity work and fundraise for a good cause. My charity of choice was Save the Children’s operations in war-torn Syria where my target was $2,000 initially, increasing it to $3,000 as I was able to raise more funds at the time and eventually reaching a final donation amount of $3,300. It felt great to be able to do something I deeply enjoyed doing while engaging in charitable efforts to help others.
Currently, I am training for my 4th full marathon, which will be in my hometown Dubai and I am raising funds for MAP, Medical Assistance for Palestinians. My donation target is AED 10,000 and so far have been able to raise around AED 3,000. This charity’s efforts are exceptional in bringing crucial and essential aid to the struggling people of Palestine with a focus on the besieged Gaza district. I trust that my efforts and the donations of friends will make a difference to many lives there.
To find out more and to donate please visit: www.justgiving.com/OmarAO