Meet the UAE's Marathon Woman

27 Dec 2011

Rosa Areosa tells us about the challenge of walking seven marathons in seven days across the seven emirates!

For most of us, it would be quite an accomplishment to complete one marathon. But 46-year-old homemaker Rosa Areosa is a different breed of marathoner. The UAE resident recently completed seven marathons in seven days across the seven emirates of the UAE!

To top the achievement, those marathon efforts were all for a great cause. Rosa undertook the 777 Challenge to raise funds to support the Maria Cristina Foundation, which works to battle poverty and help maximise human potential in developing countries.

Rosa first heard Maria Conceicao, founder of the Maria Cristina Foundation, speak at her daughter’s graduation at the Dubai American Academy. Inspired by her efforts to help the impoverished people of Bangladesh, Rosa wanted to join in. That was how the 777 Challenge began.

To understand the celebration of endurance that Rosa’s feat was, you’d have to look at the numbers. She walked a distance of 294 kilometers in a total of 42 hours, 7 minutes and 46 seconds! Accompanied by Maria, Rosa’s walk for charity began on 26 November in Sharjah and ended on 2 December, the UAE’s National Day, in Abu Dhabi.

The successful completion of the challenge was noticed and appreciated across the Emirates, including by HH Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan. Rosa and Maria were greeted by the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, along with HH Sheikh Shakhboot Bin Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, for their efforts towards helping the underprivileged in Bangladesh.

It was a moving moment for Rosa, who said: "The reception at HH Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan’s Majlis in Abu Dhabi was really special and very much appreciated; it was a very emotional end to the ordeal and a very pleasant surprise."

Along the way, however, there were many challenges. The walk across the seven Emirates was physically and mentally draining, posing several unexpected obstacles. Routes had to be changed on several occasions due to construction work and traffic congestion. The tough terrain in Fujeirah even resulted in Rosa breaking her right toe on the second day of the challenge.

What kept her going was the support she had. "As the days progressed and the kilometers rolled by, Maria's courage and strength in completing every single marathon, despite the obstacles and fatigue that we encountered, made me further respect her for her efforts. I must also mention my husband Jorge, who supported both Maria and myself with logistics, medical attention, water, food and every necessity required through the challenge. It takes someone very special to take on that responsibility and then also see it through in the very supportive manner that he did."

INFO: Want to do your part to help? You can support the Maria Cristina Foundation in several ways. Visit to find out more.