Resilient Hamed touches Kilimanjaro summit

Muscat: After setting himself up for a challenge of a lifetime at Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Hamed al Harthi has successfully completed the mission despite the hurdles.

Although the 62-year-old professional trail and long distance runner could not complete the initial target of finishing the run in under 12 hours, the Omani veteran wrapped up the entire run of 43.53km in 15:23.49s.

It was a monumental effort from the man considering the enormity of the challenge and the hiccups that he faced along the way to complete the run.

Hamed stated that the biggest challenge that he had to encounter during the course of the run was the altitude sickness that was affecting him.

“The biggest challenge was getting altitude sickness and I had to throw up a couple of times and face harsh cold,’’ Hamed added.

“Physically, I was at my best but altitude and lack of oxygen affected me so much,’’ he stated.

Hamed felt there was a tremendous sense of accomplishment after completing the run that had taken a lot of preparation.

“The feeling was of being thankful to beat that kind of challenge and to overcome the fear that this can’t be done. And was happy to turn a dream into reality,’’ he added.

Hamed had also taken up the run to propagate the cause of autism awareness and was glad that he was able to put across his message for such a noble cause.

“I was happy to create awareness of autism sufferers, especially in children in a little way. I request people to donate to Oman autism so that we can together make a big change through small changes,’’ he said.

Hamed was faced with a daunting challenge as he started the run.

“I started from Mweka gate at 5 am at 1,600 metres elevation. It was dark. After two hours I reached Mweka camp at 3,100 metres elevation. Challenges were humid because of thick forest and going through mud,’’ he added.

“From Mweka camp I took an hour and five minutes to reach Millenium camp at 3,950 metres above sea level. Challenges were uneven trail. I had to negotiate through rocks, cold started increasing. I got a chance to eat a hot lunch,’’ Hamed explained.

The Omani veteran also described the stage during which he experienced altitude sickness and discomfort.

“From Millenium camp to Barafu camp at 4,673 metres elevation, I took one hour and 40 metres to get there. The altitude sickness struck me before reaching Barafu camp. I felt like vomiting for the fast time and to face strong winds. I had put light clothes so that I can move faster. From Barafu camp to the summit at 5,895 metres, I took five hours and 10 minutes. Challenges were vomiting, less oxygen, strong winds, close to the summit snow was flowing all the way to the summit. The last one kilometre I had to move through ice,’’ he added.

It was a tremendous journey that Hamed managed to accomplish to lend his support to the cause of autism awareness and environment preservation.