Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf – CHARLES MARELID – The Speedster
Charles Marelid Photo by Eros Goze for Illustrado Magazine
At the tender age of 16, Filipino-Swedish sprinter Charles Marelid has already carved an indelible name as a premier athlete in the UAE. In April of 2015, he won five gold medals at Middle East and South Asia Athletics Conference in Doha, Qatar, breaking three records for the 100m/200m/400m dash and anchoring two gold medals in the team relays. Just recently, he won at the Dubai Ultimate Racenight in the 100m and 400m categories.
Originally a soccer player, Charles tried out for his school’s track and field team upon the urging of his Physical Education teacher. That he could outrun everyone else in the team came as a bit of a shock, as he had always pegged himself as a football player. With discipline, perseverance, and a regimen that consisted of a highly specialized diet and gruelling training, he eventually developed the skills, mindset, and the right physique to represent the UAE on the regional arena. He also claims that developing mental focus is key to his training. Of his biggest challenges, he says, “Running 400m is the most difficult thing I have done because it is the toughest for a short distance sprinter. I have to run a 100m pace 4 times.” Charles aims to get a college scholarship through his achievements in track and field.
His advice to aspiring track and fielders: “Keep trying.” He adds, “When I was in 8th grade, I only got bronze at the 100m dash. I tried harder, showed up on all the trainings and never gave up. Today, I have improved tremendously, but I still keep trying. You are your own limit. In track and field, you have to set your own goals and be the best that you can be.”