I’m writing this after discovering that there are too many people out there who do not know my complete story. My name is Abdulmajeed, but some people prefer to call me Majeed. I was born in 1987 and raised on a farm just about 100km from the capital city of Saudi Arabia. I grew up among fourteen siblings, from whom I was the weakest. With a hope to survive from the asthma attacks, I sought medical attention from different doctors on a monthly basis.
To make the story short, on January 1st, 2008, I made a decision to change. After 20 years my state was at its worst stage. I had to put an end to this situation, so I stepped out of my comfort zone; I had to change my entire lifestyle.
I have gone out of the country and decided to choose Canada. I needed to change everything about the living style that I was on, far away from home, family and friends.
First, I started participating in outdoor activities like doing light exercises and a short distance run around my Canadian family house at that time. I later joined the school activities club, where I got a seasonal membership and also learned how to ski. I joined the ping pong team and made it to the single and double tournaments. Even though I was right-handed, it reached to a point where I had trained to use both my left and right hands.
From the signs of my progress, I felt that I still had much to give and share, so I joined the gym. In the gym, I lifted weights and participated in bodybuilding. After 3 months, I amazed the trainers by lifting heavy weights in such a short period. I managed to convince many students (both genders) to join me. We started with morning runs, spinning and bodybuilding during the day and end the day with an evening run; spending about four hours on average each day.
Since the beginning, I had managed to raise my weight from 118 pounds to 148 pounds – this is a great move in the field of body building. For approximately two years I maintained my hard work and nutrition by taking less fat – even at famous fast food restaurants, I stood to my principles.
After maintaining a certain fitness level, I was no longer attracted to it, I switched to gymnastics and trained for eight months. From there, I played football or soccer (according to North Americans friends) and joined the city Pro Divisions tournament. I also participated in another two mix genders tournaments. I played for fun and convinced the friends I had gathered to play along; we enjoyed the fun.
On January 1st, 2012, I returned back home to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I was still committed to continue training. For six months I was playing tennis and another 6 months hiking, but in between the day I ran or played basketball. At that time, I felt like a game changer, but I was not capable of gathering friends or people who can publicly play any kind of sport. Until April 2014, when I received a call from a friend telling me about a sports event that was being hosted by their company in one of the Riyadh compounds. Without hesitation, I agreed – not knowing exactly what kind of sports event it was.
The race event happened on the first Friday of the same month. I knew no one and in fact, I had no clue of what was going on in the compound. Fortunately, one of the Committee members explained to me and before I knew it, the event started. I remember he mentioned that it was going to be a bi-athlon. I did not know back then what bi-athlon was, he simply stated “Just swim and run!”
I asked, for how long do I swim and run? All of a sudden the announcer has called my name for the swimming part – 350 meter. To me, it was more like swimming endlessly until they kick me out of the pool. I started the first lap of my life, which was more of a survival mission. I had never swum before, so there was no swimming style I could adjust to – either forward or backward. I finished the first part (swimming) when they tapped on my head on the last lap.
The exciting moment came when we entered the running part; I knew my competence level in this line of sport. However, the challenge came when I could not trace the route they were using and no idea how long 3km was in real life. I usually run until I get tired, so after completing the first lap, I was super excited and thinking I had finished the race, I felt hungry and without hesitation I headed towards the refreshments stand and I took a bite of banana. Surprisingly, everyone was shouting, “c’mon Majeed you can do it,” then I knew that I had missed the second lap. Immediately, I stopped what I was doing and started running again.
I felt something different about the combination of different sports; compared with other sports, this was a new experience. After the race, I went home and researched and read about the sport of Triathlon. I completed my first season in the same year as my brother, who had joined the club in the mid of the season. Since this was not enough, I later joined others cycling and running clubs in the city. I managed to pick some of the techniques that the fastest athletes use; I went to where all swimming members go to train.
I noticed how the sport had made a positive impact on me. Using my brother’s hybrid bike, which we share without making excuses for not having a proper bike for the races, I decided to participate in out of the city and country events. In the year 2014, I participated in the Riyadh Triathlon Olympic distance race, Aramco Ras Tanoura Olympic distance, Kuwait fly Olympic distance and Bahrain Challenge Half-Ironman distance event (final race of the year). It felt great and I made the sport look easy.
In the year 2015, I started strong. I attracted more than 20 people (friends and family) to join the clubs. I supported them by making it look easy when I finished quicker each time I completed a race. This has nothing to do with seeing my name on the top ten list, but I was reaching out to them. Each time they were out of shape, I kept entertaining them by re-doing the race: I knew the feeling of being at the bottom of the list. Since I started to like them, I believed that they also have a chance of making it on the top ten list.
Unfortunately, my time was divided between two jobs and I had enrolled in school studies too. However, with the support from friends and Club Committee, I still reached out and gave more. One day, as I was thinking, I received a call from the Saudi Arabian Athletic Federation, inviting me to join them in encouraging others. I slept on the offer until when I had a talk with the Chairman of the Triathlon Club. He informed me that 2XU wanted to sponsor a triathlete in the region and from their votes my name was picked. Was I good for it? What about my family, school and work? These are some of the questions that were going through my mind for about a week.
Since I always push people, who I believe in, by asking and encouraging them to do more; I knew that most of them did not like this idea and perspective. To continue what I was doing, I accepted this position as once in a lifetime opportunity. If I am asking people to do more than what they can do, then I should apply it to my life to improve my performance too. I started competing for the first five slots and to aim higher, the top three position. I appeared in the weekly newspaper in 2015; this season I became an overall champion taking the first positions in the Triathlon races.
As I conclude, I have not only convinced people to join the sport, but I have talked to many who have changed their lifestyle to the point of completing a half or full Iron-man and a half or full marathon. The distance they have made does not matter much, the most important are the goals they have achieved so far. I still believe that there is still much to give, just as Steve Jobs once said: “Always stay hungry stay foolish”.
I look forward to seeing more people join in 🙂