By Margaret Sheard…
Ahmet was born in Nazimabad, Karachi, Pakistan on 29th October 1955. As a schoolboy he was very keen on sport, especially hockey but an unfortunate accident when he broke his arm resulted in having to give up his favourite sport and so he then concentrated more on his school work. His eventual profession was as a Chartered Accountant.
In 1972 Ahmet’s father decided to leave Pakistan for good and to settle in Istanbul, Turkey. They went and stayed in Istanbul for 3 months, when the adventure was declared as a total failure. The family returned to Pakistan on 21st December 1972, to re-start their lives from scratch.
Ahmet got married in 1987 and in 1991, at the age of 36, he came to North Cyprus with his wife and 3 year old son, mainly to see what it was like here, and he decided to stay, his family increased with another son and a daughter and it seems sport must be in the blood because his daughter has represented the TRNC in badminton and basketball and his eldest son, Umar, achieved his diploma as registered kick box trainer, he is a black belt second dan in kickboxing in North Cyprus. So Ahmet is pleased he has been able to accomplish his father’s lost adventure.
After completing his education in 1979, Ahmet wanted to return to sports. This time he preferred long distances races. Though during 1980s he did participate in some short and long distance road races, in Pakistan, he lost interest in them. He told us about the reason for leaving road races. “I was never a competent road runner. I lost my interest in every race that I participated in, I ended up last”.
During his life Ahmet also suffered from a spinal problem but he had a love of sport and wanted to pursue something so at the age of 40 he was advised to start walking, short distances to start and then he could push himself to longer distances and of course he eventually also started running again and was able to achieve marathon distances. Ideally Ahmet likes to run and also walk, hence his “slogan” ‘I Run, I Walk’ He covers between 5km and 10km every day and longer distances at weekends. His style of run/walk has made him an athlete of a totally different type. He is an athlete who does not compete. He does not run/walk to achieve a medal or ranking, he endeavours to prove that he can cover much longer distances. As he puts it, his long distance run/walk is 30% fitness and 70% strong will power. With the help of these two ingredients, he has achieved a lot.
I asked Ahmet if he did his marathons for any particular cause such as charities in North Cyprus and he said it was always difficult to arrange sponsorship and generally he runs and walks for his own pleasure and because he is able to do it. Ahmet will be 60 years old in 2016 and he is aiming to have completed a minimum of 51 marathon distances by that time, and hopefully more. This he considers as a unique birth year gift to himself. It is not about completing a marathon in the fastest time which is why he runs and also walks, it is being able to actually fulfil his desire to cover the distance, over and over again. Looking at the word Marathon, Wikipedia says “The marathon course is based on the myth from which the race gained its name: Pheidippides, a messenger in Ancient Greece, ran from the Battle of Marathon to Athens to announce the Greeks’ victory over the Persians”.
Some years ago Ahmet started to keep an account of the number of kilometres he had reached with a view to establishing if he could in fact accumulate the number of kilometres around the world. Unfortunately he mislaid his records and it is hoped maybe he will be able to recover this information at some time in the future.
Ahmet has in fact run/walked for charities.
On 10th March 2013, I ran/walked for about 50km.
It was a walk for the benefit of the Kemal Saraçoğlu Losemli Çocuklar Ve Kanser Araştirma Vakfi. It is a local Foundation for research on Cancer. It took me about 6 hours to go from Lefkoşa to Aslanköy and back.
14 April 2013 … I walked 50km in the name of the Cyprus Turkish Diabetics Association
Some years ago Ahmet would complete his marathon distance by running/walking from his home to a certain point and then turning and running/walking back. A relative in Girne suggested why not run from Ortoköy to Girne and he has done this many times, staying overnight with his relative and then doing another run/walk the next day to return home.
In 2012 Ahmet went for crossing northern Cyprus from east to west. Thus he completed 105km from Famagusta to Guzelyurt which took him 17 hours.
Ahmet told us that he would like to complete the run/walk from Famagusta to Guzelyurt again, however he looks forward to fınding some organiser for this. We mentioned to Ahmet about writing about a cycle tour around the whole island by members of the UN a few years ago which was in aid of the Army Benevolent Fund. Maybe he could even consider this as a challenge, however, he could not do this alone and would need to be accompanied with various supplies and arrangements made for overnight stays etc. but perhaps something to think about for the future?
29th May was the 560th anniversary of the conquest of the Istanbul city. Sultan Muhammed Fatih was the first Muslim Türk king who had succeeded in making his way through the historic walls of the city on 29th May 1453. Ahmet celebrated the 560th anniversary of this historical event by walking around the historical walls of the Istanbul city. The walls are about 23km in length. However, he walked around it from outside. In total his walk was about 30 kilometres.
There are many facets to Ahmet who I found to be a very modest person who has achieved much in his life, he is a thinking man and also very strong in his philosophy of life and what can be achieved.
I went on to the subject of a very different side of Ahmet and that is his talent as an artist. He said he loved drawing from a very early age and his father, who was a very well educated man, supported and encouraged him by purchasing books and equipment to help with Ahmet’s interest in art. A famous Pakistani artist, Eqbal Mehdi, allowed Ahmet to visit him and study how he worked and in 1985 Ahmet had his first exhibition in Karachi. At that time it was mainly pen sketches but Ahmet has slowly moved on to oil painting, his main theme is portrait work but over the last couple of years he has developed an interest in abstract art. Since living in North Cyprus Ahmet has had 3 exhibitions of his work here.
Ahmet has also written 3 books, 2 of which have been published, the latest being The Two Tulips, a story with a difference about 2 young people meeting on the internet. I must put this on my list of books to read so at this point I cannot comment on the story line.
Something I found very interesting about Ahmet was his philosophy about life, specifically the human body. He strongly believes that medication prescribed can also have adverse effects and he said only a person knows their own body and should be able to know what is happening within it. He chooses to analyse his symptoms and establish what is causing a certain problem and do something to put it right, this philosophy has served him well, he certainly seems to be a very fit man and despite a back problem and possibly tuberculosis as a younger man, he has overcome all of this to do what he is achieving today. Maybe this philosophy would not suit many people, but it certainly suits Ahmet, as we could see.
His philosophy about sports is that sports must not be specifically looked at as a form of competition. It must be taken as a form of healthy living. One must walk/run daily to remain healthy. This is what his motto is, and this is the message that he gives to all, through his long distance/walks.
We spent a nice couple of hours talking to Ahmet, it was very interesting and enlightening and we covered not only details about himself but also many other topics. We hope to meet up with him again very soon.
Here are some examples of Ahmet’s exceptional talent as an artist.
If you would like to learn more about Ahmet and his many achievements the links are as follows:-
The Two Tulips novel – click here
I run I walk – click here
Art and Art – click here