Shared Joys and Lessons from Riyadh’s First Full Marathon 2022

A couple of weeks ago, there were more than 10,000 people who took part in Riyadh’s first ever full-length marathon. It should be noted that only a half marathon was held in 2018. I pointed that out to clarify the confusion that has slightly shaken the sport headlines about the event, subsequently.

There were more than 10,000 people during that day. On the one hand, most of the people gravitate towards seeing the festive vibe or the glitz and glamor the event sends out. On the other, some find ridicule when participants post their photos on social media platforms. But there’s a bigger picture behind this “running event” that should be shared with the world out there.

I couldn’t give you all the reasons and stories, of course, but I’m certain of one thing: it’s not all about glitz and glamour, recreational activities, photo ops, or the 2 million riyals of monetary prize for the main events’ (21k and 42k) respective finishers. More than 10,000 people translated to more than 10,000 reasons. Reasons that translated to inspiring stories. Let me share with you some of those as I go along via the posts I stumbled upon on Instagram (#riyadhmarathon2022).

This is officially my first ever participation in this kind of activity and I’ve got a limited knowledge of the technical aspects. I did prepare for it though, like a pro, by doing a series of walking, running, and jogging for a few months prior to the big day.

My motivation to keep training for it since 2020 emanates from my lifetime endeavor to make my feet stronger in January 2019 (“Journey to the Other Side”). Since that, I may say, milestone three years ago, I dedicated my every physical activity to making my feet stronger than before. The main reason is, running is actually one of the required programs during the recovery process following an ACL reconstruction. It’s one of the things I felt lacking during the hospital-based therapy program and, not to mention, the least sporting activity I like but must do anyway. This is the reason why I’m doing it even though a little later than I should’ve been. It took a while before I’ve developed confidence for it, given the circumstances. The same reason why I participated in the color run in October 2019. (I don’t qualify the color run though as a challenging running event in this context.)

Now, a friend and an officemate of mine took on the full marathon (biggest deal of the event) because it’s his lifelong dream. Well, it was at this point…

I never knew about how big of a deal it is for him until I read his post about it. What a story!

There’s also the underrated athletes in the event.

It’s been a while since I felt an extra admiration for athletes. Seeing these super athletes that day working their way through the racetrack inspired me like no other. I couldn’t help pausing for a few seconds to exclaim the admiration I was then feeling, and to silently salute them. They brought my appreciation for the event to the highest level.

The latter goes as well for all the other participants on that pivotal day. Three cheers!

It’s worth underlining once again that the human body was designed to move and works best when it’s active. The fast-paced world made us lazy to do physical activities.

That’s the reason why having events like this particular marathon is a must—not only in Riyadh but in every city or area that can hold said sport event.

Kudos to Saudi Sports For All Federation and all the sponsors of this event that drew 10,000 people to “run” on 05 March 2022, which was a Saturday, in spite of the weather warning the day before.

The organizers’ determination to bring the event to fruition, coupled with the participants’ burning enthusiasm, trumped the dust storm that was trying to put back the big day.

I can’t wait to register in the next one.

The sheer amount of time and effort that goes into a single marathon make the twenty-minute good match in badminton insignificant. How can I not like it? I mean it’s a great way to improve my endurance in the sport I really compete for.

More than the medal, I couldn’t be prouder for taking part in one of the multiple races of Riyadh’s first official full-length marathon.

The event didn’t just promote developing a positive health and mental wellbeing, challenging ones’ self, getting fit, raising money and awareness, stepping out the comfort zone, or accomplishing an important life event; it also made me embrace doing physical activities and being mobile more than ever.

All in all, this first ever full-length marathon event in the Kingdom was about inspiring, influencing rather, all members of society to commit to being physically active and to making it as a lifestyle. It’s a major reinforcement for one of the good things the Stephen King-like days made us realize: that health is truly a wealth.

I’m really glad I took part in this event.

From here on out and because I’m going to do 21k the next time around, I’m going to put a greater effort and time into my training.

(Disclaimer: The featured photo is from sportograf‘s free album titled “impressions”.)

Related Articles

Saudi Arabia announces first full marathon in the Kingdom Staged By The Sports For All Federation (

10,000 participants take part in the first professional, international marathon in KSA (

More than 10,000 people take part in first full-length Riyadh Marathon (


2 Comments Add yours

  1. vinneve says:

    Keep going! Good to know KSA is now doing that and lots of new updates.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And changes as we speak have been shooting up … the most notable so far are women (local, expats, and tourists) are no longer required to wear abaya while men are now allowed to wear shorts in public places.

      Concerts have also been a common event.

      Liked by 1 person

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