Friendly guide to get ready for fun, fitness with Saudi Arabia's Color Run

The largest running series in the world, the Color Run has been experienced by over 7 million runners worldwide in more than 40 countries. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 24 October 2019

Friendly guide to get ready for fun, fitness with Saudi Arabia's Color Run

JEDDAH: The countdown to the Color Run has begun and the most colorful race on the planet returning to Saudi Arabia on Oct. 26, as part of the General Entertainment Authority’s efforts to attract top entertainment to the Kingdom. There will be a 5-kilometer run in Riyadh this Saturday and one in Jeddah on Nov. 2, with thousands expected to take part at each location.

People who want to take part can visit www.ksa.thecolorrun.com, collect the limited-edition participant packs, and follow this friendly guide to make sure they have an unforgettable experience.

Make exercise — in any form — a weekly family activity

Walking or jogging is easy, common and free. But doing it as a family is a fun way to spend time together and improve family life overall. Over the next few days plan a “test run” with the family to see how they fare. It will help them prepare for what is coming and create a special bonding opportunity with children, improve the family’s health, and teach the little ones a valuable lesson about the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle to develop into happy, active adults.

Fuel up for your first 5k

The family’s diet leading up to the race will help them stay energized and enjoy their first 5k run, walk or sprint. On the day of the event, offer the family a tasty breakfast that is packed with unprocessed carbs, for example a muffin and an apple, toast with jam and a piece of fruit, or a bowl of cereal topped with raisins or other dried fruit. Don’t forget to hydrate before, during and especially after finishing the run. Plan to arrive at the start line with enough time to use the washroom before the 5k begins without feeling rushed.

Show off your colors

It goes without saying that one of the things that makes this run different is the color. That means the best way to get those Instagram-worthy photos is to make sure participants are wearing clothes that help those beautiful colors shine through. While the limited-edition participation packs have everyone covered with the Hero Tour Color Run T-Shirt and other cool gear, it would work in a runner’s favor to sport the white or pastel clothes.

Take the essentials

As participants jog, skip or walk through the event, they will want to keep things as light as possible. This is why the event’s organizers recommend bringing only things people really need, preferably things that fit into a light carry-on zip lock baggie. This way they are free to go all out with their dance moves at the post-run finish carnival as well.

Make the memories last

Participants are encouraged to make sure to take a before and after photo as a family. One snap in the limited edition Hero Tour Color Run T-Shirt at the starting line, then another after the 5k once the participants are covered in color. Frame it or post it on Instagram to remind family members of their happiest 5k run together.


Saudi pursuit of ‘green Kingdom’ goal gets a boost

Updated 18 November 2019

Saudi pursuit of ‘green Kingdom’ goal gets a boost

  • Agreement between agriculture ministry and Dubai's ICBA aimed at conserving natural resources
  • Kingdom's biosaline agriculture research and systems stands to benefit from ICBA's expertise

DUBAI: Agricultural development and environmental sustainability in Saudi Arabia will receive a boost in the coming years, thanks to a new agreement between the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) in Dubai and the Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture.

The agreement aims to enable Saudi Arabia to achieve its goal of preservation and sustainable management of its natural resources by raising the quality of biosaline agriculture research and systems.

The ministry says that the agreement will make use of the ICBA’s expertise in capacity development besides agricultural and environmental research, especially in the fields of vegetation development, combating desertification and climate change adaptation.

“It also includes training programs for Saudi technicians and farmers,” the ministry said. “In addition, it will localize, implement and develop biosaline agriculture research and production systems for both crops and forestation, which contributes to environmental and agricultural integration.”

Dr. Ismahane Elouafi, the ICBA’s director general, told Arab News: “The agreement had been in the making for about two years. That was when we were approached by the Saudi government.”

Dr. Ismahane Elouafi, ICBA Director General, at the center's Quinoa fields in Dubai. (Supplied photo)

She said: “We put forward a proposal to demonstrate how the ICBA can help the Saudi government to implement its Green Kingdom Initiative, through which the ministry is trying to restore green coverage in the country and revive old conservation practices.”

Geographical features and climatic conditions very greatly from one part of the country to the other.

In the past, experimentation with such crops as potatoes, wheat and alfalfa proved detrimental to the Kingdom’s environment and natural resources due to faster rates of groundwater withdrawal.

“The ministry wanted to put a halt to over-abstraction of water, so they went through different policies,” Elouafi said.

“They made sure, for example, that farmers stopped producing wheat because about 2,400 liters of water is consumed to produce 1 kg of wheat. It was a huge amount,” she added.

“The new strategy is to find more appropriate crops for the farming community, which is quite large in the Kingdom.”

Saudi Arabia has been trying to grow its own food on a large scale since the 1980s. 

The objective of the Green Kingdom Initiative is to reduce the agricultural sector’s water demand by finding alternatives to thirsty crops.

The agreement will require the ICBA, over the next five years, to build for Saudi Arabia a new biosaline agriculture sector. 

As part of this shift, cultivation of a number of crops, notably quinoa, pearl millet and sorghum, will be piloted in high-salinity regions and then scaled up.

“The crops did very well in the UAE,” Elouafi said. “We’re looking at Sabkha regions, which have very high salinity and wetlands, and are on the ministry’s environmental agenda.”

Another objective is “smart” agriculture, which will involve raising water productivity, controlling irrigation water consumption and changing farming behavior.

Elouafi said that getting farmers in the Kingdom to stop cultivating wheat took some time as they had become accustomed to heavy government subsidies. In 2015, wheat production was phased out, followed by potatoes a year later and then alfalfa. 

“Farmers were provided everything to the point where they got used to a very good income and a very easy system,” she said.

“Now farmers are being asked to start producing something else, but the income won’t be the same, so it’s very important at this stage that the ministry has a plan and it’s fully understood.”

The agreement envisages preparation of proposals for ministry projects that involve plant production, drought monitoring, development of promising local crop and forestation varieties, and conservation of plant genetic resources.

“We’re also discussing capacity building because the ministry is big and has many entities. Because Saudi Arabia is a large country and has the capacity to meet some of its food requirements internally, what’s required is a better understanding of the country’s natural capabilities in terms of production of the crops it needs, like certain cereals,” Elouafi said.

“The way the authorities are going about it right now is more organized and more holistic. They’re trying to plan it properly.”

Elouafi said that having a better understanding of Saudi Arabia’s water constraints and managing the precious resource is essential.

 

Although almost the entire country is arid, there is rainfall in the north and along the mountain range to the west, especially in the far southwest, which receives monsoon rains in summer.

 

Sporadic rain may also occur elsewhere. Sometimes it is very heavy, causing serious flooding, including in Riyadh.

“They (the government) are very interested in drought management systems. The Kingdom has a long history of agriculture,” Elouafi said.

“It has large quantities of water in terms of rainfall, and certain regions have mountainous conditions, which are conducive to agriculture.”

Clearly, preservation of water resources is a priority for the Saudi government. But no less urgent is the task of conversion of green waste to improve soil quality, increase soil productivity and water retention, and reduce demand for irrigation.

The Kingdom is one of at least three Gulf Cooperation Council countries that are taking steps to develop a regulatory framework for the recycling of waste into compost.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Oman are respectively aiming to recycle 85 percent, 75 percent and 60 percent of their municipal solid waste over the next decade, according to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) entitled “Global Food Trends to 2030.”

Saudi Arabia and the UAE rank in the bottom quartile of the 34 countries covered by the EIU’s Food Sustainability Index, with low scores for nutrition and food loss and waste. 

The answer, according to many farmers, policymakers and food-industry experts, is a shift toward more sustainable management of each country’s natural resources.