We’re pretty pleased if we manage four lengths of a pool without putting our feet down, but a Saudi dentist has given us new swimming #goals.
Dr. Mariam Saleh Binladen has become the first ever swimmer to cross Dubai Creek and swim up the new Dubai Water Canal.
While the rest of Dubai was relaxing, on Friday (10th March), Dr Mariam was adding to her tally of world records for a really great cause.
Starting at 5am from the canal’s Dubai Creek entrance in Al Shindagha, she covered the 24km distance in nine hours and 10 minutes, finishing shortly after 2pm at Al Ghubaiba Station, next to the Four Season’s Hotel.
Her marathon saw her battle strong currents at the entrance and mouth of the canal, and Dubai Police and Marine Rescue teams were on hand to make sure everything went, well, swimmingly.
No newbie to these things, in June 2016, Dr Mariam set a new record as the first woman to officially swim 162 kilometres to the source of Britain’s River Thames. In August of the same year, she became the first Saudi woman to complete an assisted swim across the 33km English Channel.
However it’s still pretty impressive that she pulled off her latest gruelling challenge with just four weeks of practice.
As well as cheering well-wishers lining the Canal’s banks, Dr Mariam has an inspiring cause to drive her on. In December last year, she opened a first-of-its-kind dental centre at the Al Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan. Proceeds from her record-breaking swims are used to provide free oral care to thousands of the camp’s 55,000 residents.
After reaching the finish line, Dr. Mariam said: “I want to extend my warmest appreciation and gratitude to HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and President of the Dubai Sports Council, for his gracious patronage of the event, and to the team members who worked really hard over the past month to make this great event a memorable success.
“I would also like to thank all the people who turned up just to cheer and encourage me throughout the day.”
She added: “This event is part of my continued pledge to raise awareness of the plight of thousands of Syrian orphan refugees, who have lost their parents and guardians been uprooted from their homes and scattered across different parts of the world.
“I also wanted to motivate more and more women from the Arab world to take on sports and use their talents to achieve the unachievable, knowing that nothing is impossible.”
Donations can be made through the United Nations Refugee Agency at www.mariambinladen.com