As the first Singaporean mobility-impaired athlete to take part in marathons and ultras, the Singapore Blade Runner is well known around the region.
Despite being born without a left leg and having had a very tough childhood, the Singapore Blade Runner, whose real name is Mohammad Shariff Abdullah Peters Christopher, has never let these troubles get him down in life. Instead, he has risen above his problems, to get to where he is today – and is now not only an amputee athlete, but also a powerful motivational speaker and a proud father of three children.
Participating in the Tenzing-Hillary Everest Marathon on May 29
And come May 29 this year, the Singapore Blade Runner will be taking on his greatest challenge yet – when he participates in the Tenzing-Hillary Everest Marathon.
Billed as the most adventurous trail run in the world, the Everest Marathon is a self-sufficient marathon race that will take runners to the base of the classic south face of the world-famous Mount Everest, as they acclimatise for the race by trekking to the base camp – and then running down the mountain during the race.
Why did he choose to take part in this marathon? Said the Singapore Blade Runner, “Climbing Mount Everest has always been a childhood dream of mine – but because of my disability, my doctor told me that I cannot climb Everest. So I altered my dream – to running the Everest Marathon instead. Also, I hope to celebrate 50 years of Singapore’s independence by succeeding at this – to give Singapore a big birthday present.”
Added Shariff, “At the same time, I hope to inspire others by taking on this arduous physical challenge. I really want to show the world what Singaporeans are capable of, even though we are just a small country.”
Challenges that the Singapore Blade Runner will probably face
Shariff is definitely well aware of the difficulties of the Everest Marathon, especially for an amputee athlete such as himself. He explained, “One of my biggest challenges will be the prosthetic leg, especially the foot. That’s because the stump sinks down into the leg socket, and this causes lots of pain as well as wear and tear of the prosthetic. But I am bringing two prosthetic leg sockets and another foot so that I can change them around when I have problems.”
But Sharif adds that the blades do not come cheap. The running blade alone costs about $3,400 and the entire prosthetic leg will set Shariff back by about $7,000 each. In total, the trip will cost Shariff about $20,000. So he is currently still working hard, by giving motivational talks and selling merchandise, to raise the money to bring him to Everest. But he admitted that having sponsors on board to help with the finances, such as The North Face, CompressSport and Toyota Singapore, is definitely a great help.
Besides his expensive prothetic leg, some other challenges that Shariff admitted he will also face on Mount Everest, include the lack of Internet in Nepal to get in touch with his wife and children, as well as the problems of having to take off his prosthetic leg whenever he needs to go to the bathroom.
Training hard to achieve his dream
Nevertheless, to successfully achieve his dream of conquering the Everest Marathon though, the Singapore Blade Runner has been training hard since 2013, by taking part in plenty of obstacle races such as the recent Men’s Health Urbanathlon and the Commando Challenge, and building his strength by climbing stairs as well as doing trekking at MacRitchie Reservoir and mountain climbing at Mount Kinabalu to help him to get used to the trails and slopes that he will face on Everest, as well as the high altitude. In short, the Singapore Blade Runner will face altitudes reaching a maximum of 5,364 metres above sea level when he is on Everest.
Explained Shariff, “I have been training about six to seven days a week. On Monday and Friday mornings, I run 10km and do some brisk walking in the evening. Tuesdays are to train my lower body and Thursdays are for the upper body. On Wednesdays and Saturday nights, I do trekking with a backpack, mostly around MacRitchie Reservoir, to accumulate mileage and get used to running with a load.” The weight of his loads during training sessions typically range from about 5kg to 15kg.
Took up a technical mountaineering course
The Singapore Blade Runner took a technical mountaineering course several years back to set him up for the Everest adventure, and as well, he is using the Boston Marathon 2015 as part of his training too, to help him get used to the cold weather that he will face when he is up there on Mount Everest.
Explained Shariff, “Sometimes, when you are running at high altitudes, the weather and terrain will be real challenge. The wind will be very strong and the temperature very cold, so I need to be prepared for this both physically and mentally.” But no matter what obstacles he will face along the way, Shariff says that he will not give up as he is determined to make his childhood dream come true.
“I will do whatever I can to complete the Everest Marathon, There is no turning back now, so I will just carry on and leave it to fate – and at the same time, inspire everyone around me,” Shariff explained.
If you would like to find out more about the Singapore Blade Runner’s Everest quest, or donate to his cause, you can contact him at his website, http://www.sgbladerunner.com/everest-2015.html.
Other Blog Posts
- A Motivational Talk by Singapore Blade Runner
- Singapore Blade Runner Returns to Boston Bombing Site
- An Interview with the Singapore Blade Runner