First it was mountain climbing, then it was marathons, now Hassan Akhras is utterly addicted to ultra marathons. The content creator and watch blogger known as Arab Watch Guide ran the Fuerteventura half Marathon des Sables in September 2019 and was due to attempt the two-day 125km race Ultra x 125 in the Azores in April when Covid hit. Aged 36 from Syria, Akhras explained what draws him to this punishing endurance sport. We started by asking about his training regime.
What sort of training prepares you for these epic races?
I do a lot of HIIT training – run, walk, stop, run, walk, stop – because with ultra marathons, you’re never on a flat surface and breathing is very difficult. I ran the Dubai marathon and it was easy, you switch off and focus on the run. Ultra running is more interesting, the terrain is beautiful, you look around and forget yourself.
Do you train your mind?
I think about the race and the situations I might find myself in and how I will react. I rely on my little bit of experience and stories I’ve heard from other athletes.