ECSSR Press Conference on Dr. Khaled Jamal Al-Suwaidi’s Initiative to Run from Abu Dhabi to Makkah

In the presence of His Excellency Professor Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi, Director General of the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR), and a representative of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a press conference was held on Monday, January  28, 2019, in the Commemoration Hall at the ECCSR office complex to announce the Abu Dhabi-Makah Run Initiative in which Dr. Khaled Jamal Al-Suwaidi, Executive Director of the ECSSR, will run from Abu Dhabi to Makah. Starting from February 1, 2019, Dr. Khaled will run a distance of 2,070 km which he is planning to cover in 38 days through a combination of continuous running and walking.

Dr. Khaled confirmed during the press conference, which was attended by a selection of journalists and media professionals, that he sees the challenge as a national, religious and spiritual endeavor. He explained that the idea behind the initiative is to express his deep appreciation, and that of all the UAE’s sons and daughters, for the solid historical ties between the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This is particularly important as both countries address the challenges facing the region, such as extremism, in order to continue on the path of progress to achieve wellbeing and prosperity for its people.

Dr. Khaled described how he has completed his preparations and is firmly resolved to take up this unprecedented challenge, adding that he is inspired by his father Prof. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi, Director General of the ECSSR, who fought and won a battle with cancer to set an example of determination, proving that nothing is impossible in the face of strong will. Dr. Khaled also expressed his heartfelt gratitude for the sponsors of this initiative, including the Crown Prince Court, ECSSR, Abu Dhabi Police, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Abu Dhabi Media, United Printing and Publishing, Healthpoint Hospital, Gargash Enterprises, Agthia Group and CRYO Medical Center.

During the press conference, Dr. Khaled Jamal Al-Suwaidi described how he started his daily training since mid-February 2018, adopting a rigorous training program that many may view as intolerable, although he reached a point where he was able to enjoy the training regardless of how difficult it was.  He added that, “The self-satisfaction I feel after achieving a hard training objective alleviates all the pain I feel and rewards me for my suffering.” He pointed out that he ran around 10,000km collectively during his trainings.

Dr. Khaled Jamal Al Suwaidi said, “the Abu Dhabi-Makkah Run Initiative website ( was launched on Tuesday, January 15, 2019, providing the latest information, data and activities of this initiative. It also gives insights into Dr. Khaled’s physical, mental and psychological preparations for the challenge. Additionally, it includes daily updates on the Abu Dhabi-Makkah Run, taking into account its various phases and activities. Dr. Khaled added that he is planning to run 55-60 km a day along his way to Makkah, with the starting point being at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, at 8:30 am on February 1, 2019. Dr. Khaled invites journalists and media professionals to cover the start of this significant event, stressing that anyone will be welcomed to participate in the run, even if it is only for one kilometer, anytime between 10:00 am to 2:00 pm throughout the running period, which will cover 38 days.

This is not the first time Dr. Khaled Jamal Al-Suwaidi has taken on such an extraordinary challenge. In early February 2018, he ran 327km from Fujairah Port to Abu Dhabi Port in 80 hours, with just three hours sleep. The Fujairah-Abu Dhabi Ultra Marathon focused on raising awareness for the work of the Cancer Patient Care Society – Rahma. The experience inspired Dr. Khaled to chronicle his achievement in a book titled The Secret?! There is no Secret [in Arabic], sharing with readers his personal experience of hardships, and how to overcome them, as we strive to pursue our goals.