When Ali Kedami’s daughter Saria was born, she had problems with her legs. It was only when she was two years old that she was able to walk for the first time. Her father decided to do something to inspire her, to show her that anything was possible.
Taking a break from the artistic metal work he does for a career in Beirut, Lebanon, Kedami registered himself for the Sahara Race 2010. “I was not a runner, ever, until 2008,” he says. “Doing these races made me realize that if you have the will, nothing is impossible.”
When Kedami completed the Sahara Race, his wife and daughter were there to cheer him on at the finish line. He remembers the scene clearly: “The photographer Zandy [Mangold] took a picture of my face before and after I saw my daughter, and you can see the emotion on my face. She said to me, ‘Papa is my hero’.”
He laughs and adds, “ She also saw the winner Anders [Jensen] from Denmark, and told me “You are strong, but Anders is better.”
As Kedami continued to train, he saw his daughter gradually get better—and they accompanied him to the Atacama Crossing 2011, the Gobi March 2011 and RacingThePlanet: Jordan. Saria then started to embrace running herself. “She is 12 years old now,” he tells us. “She is running, she likes to run five kilometer races, and enjoys running more than I do. Now I get inspired from her.”
As Kedami celebrates his entry into the 4 Deserts Club and finishing in 14th position overall, he stands on the expedition ship as it bounds its way back to Argentina and reflects on this race.
“I thought it was going to be difficult race,” he admits. “I had to take a bus to get to Ushuaia. But Antarctica was so beautiful and nothing like I had ever seen before. It was my first time running in snow. It has been a good experience, and I was happy to finish in a good position. I hope to give this hope to my daughter Saria.”
By Clare Morin