When three corporate executives with full-time jobs decided to take their passion for sports to the next level, they joined together as the Omni Athletes team- athletes who perform different disciplines.
Dubai based Mustapha Mroueih, Mazen Mroueih, and Dani Afiouni are the three athletes behind the team, and together they've been touring the world, competing in extreme challenges and raising funds for charity.
Speaking to StepFeed, one of the team's members, Dani Afiouni, explained more about the group, their inspiring charity initiatives, and the challenges they're planning to take part in next.
Omni Athletes... a trio attempting to break world records
When asked how the idea for Omni athletes began, Afiouni said:
"The entire idea is based on 'ordinary people doing extraordinary feats.' We often find and take part in extreme challenges around the world, ones that have never been attempted by Arabs before. Our main aim is to use our awards/funds to help support various charity organizations, namely King Hussein Cancer Center and the Children's Cancer Center of Lebanon (CCCL)."
Speaking about a few of the group's achievements so far, Afiouni said:
"In 2014 we climbed the Alps and we successfully summited Mont Blanc and that meant the world to us and gave us the confidence we needed to push things to another level with endurance athletics."
Later in 2014, the group was on the lookout for an extreme race, something to raise the bar to an international level, and that's when they found out about one of the world's most difficult races: The Triple 7 Quest.
The quest involves running seven marathons on seven continents in seven days (which is now The Triple 8 Quest after the discovery of Zealandia, the eighth continent.)
The group is considered the first ever Arab team to successfully complete the difficult challenge, which sees athletes crossing entire continents on foot.
Mazen and Mustapha Mroueih also broke a Guinness World Record during the challenge, as they were considered the first brothers to ever complete the race together.
Other extreme races the group successfully took on in recent years include the North Pole and Everest Marathons.
Today, the three athletes continue to participate in extreme races.
Afiouni is currently attempting the 'Explorers Grand Slam,' which involves climbing the highest summits across all seven continents, and skiing both the south and north pole.
Athleticism for a cause
While inspiring Arab youth is at the forefront of the group's aims, it's certainly not their only goal.
The trio behind Omni Athletes also aims to use their work to help children who suffer from life-threatening diseases, including cancer.
"Our aim is to help connect cancer centers with donors who can support them in the work they do," Afiouni said.
Their journey with this type of charity work was inspired by baby Hajar, a hero infant who was suffering from the disease.
"We met baby Hajar and her humble family in 2013, her case was the initiation of our charity journey and the reason why we became passionate about supporting Children's cancer charities."
In previous years, the group helped several other children who suffer from cancer.
"So far we have had the honor of meeting 5 other heroes, and the journey has been nothing but humbling and inspiring. If you want to know the definition of true courage and endurance, spend some time and look into the eyes of a 4 year old cancer patient. They epitomize a true sense of survival, fortitude and resilience in the face of hopelessness," he added.
Getting ready for future marathons
As the group continues to train for world class marathons and climbs, Afiouni told StepFeed more about the grueling preparation process that takes place months before every challenge.
"Running long distances requires a lot of preparation, you need to set up your central nervous system to handle the ride, your form and posture too and you need to have strong muscle groups. We have been through injuries and put our bodies through many strains, all of it is good experience and now we have become experts."
When asked what advice he'd like to share with young athletes across the Arab world, Afiouni said:
"Think big, train hard, gear up, explore more, stay up to speed with sports technology and seek professional and relevant chiropractic and muscle strength expert opinion."
Inspiring future generations to continue the journey
As for what message he would share with young people around the world, Afiouni said:
"Through our work, we aim to inspire future generations to continue the journey when we no longer can. We promise them and our followers that, every year, Omni Athletes will be doing something big."