The Hannibal Race is one of the most successful obstacle races in the Middle East. Their popularity is growing. Since 2014, Hannibal Race has produced events in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. OCR Buddy recently spoke with the two people behind The Hannibal Race, Amine Dib, and Hiba Rayess Chehyaeb. We welcome them as the next guests of “10 Questions with…,” and we thank them for spending time with us.
We present the Hannibal Race version of “10 Questions with Anime Dib and Hiba Rayess Chehayeb”
How did each of you get introduced to obstacle course racing, and what were your initial thoughts on the sport?
Amine – It was back in 2012 when the OCR hype started to hit the sports world! As a huge fan of military obstacle courses, I was totally submerged in this new era of OCR.
Hiba – It was in November 2016 when I first participated in a local OCR in Kuwait. It was also their very first event. So I then formed a team with members at my gym, and we all joined. I instantly loved the thrill of it and started traveling in the Gulf region to join more OCRs like Tough Mudder and Spartan.
Tell me about your journey to becoming involved with Hannibal Race?
Amine – I wanted first to get a royalty and the exclusivity from one of the famous races back in 2013, but that wasn’t happening. So, I dropped the idea and thought of creating our race with a Lebanese / Phoenician touch.
Hiba – In the summer of 2017, I was in Lebanon and heard that Hannibal Race was having an event. I decided to join for the fun of it and was immediately hooked and impressed by the challenging obstacles. That’s when I spoke to Amine and decided I wanted to take the race to Kuwait (where I live). We agreed to take it to Kuwait, and it was a huge success. Soon after, I became a partner for Hannibal and was very much invested and ready in taking it to a larger, more global scale.
For those new to Hannibal Race, it is an obstacle race in the Middle East, having events since 2014 in Lebanon, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. It is open to everyone above 16 years old, and you invite everyone to be a Puma Hannibal Warrior. What have been the difficulties, if any, of the production of these events throughout the years (excluding COVID), and also, what have been the rewards?
Amine – Yes, back then, we were officially sponsored by Puma! Anyone can be a Hannibal warrior!
Hiba – Before Covid, we didn’t face any major difficulties. As for the rewards, we became very well-known in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council). We had some professional athletes who flew in to attend our very successful race in Kuwait, and ever since then; they take part in all of the other races we have done.
You are both fitness enthusiasts/professionals. Tell us about your training, and do you train differently when preparing for different types of events.
Amine – OCRs are very demanding mentally and physically! I mix my training daily to suit this sport: Functional training is key for me! I am also fascinated in all military type trainings and fitness programs
Hiba – I have always trained regularly, focusing on strength and conditioning and am also a runner. So I don’t really need any specific training for certain events, other than learning techniques for some things such as climb roping and swing rings.
Personally, how do you envision obstacle racing in the Middle East, what are its strengths, and where does it need improvements?
Amine- OCR is spreading big time, especially in UAE; Covid 19 was a huge setback! I wish that governments start to support more OCR in the Arab world by finding more funds coming for the sports authorities of the Arab countries.
Hiba – Obstacle racing is a growing sport that is well-known in the Middle East. The culture and passion for it is there and I personally believe that there should be more races in the area to enhance productive competition
Have you noticed any differences in obstacle racing in the Middle East versus other parts of the world?
Amine – VOLUME! OCR attracts more individuals in Europe & USA where the market is more mature and the population is way more vast! Also where OCR marketing is on top of the game
Hiba – The only difference I see is having more areas in the Western culture.
Besides work and racing/training, what do you do for fun/relaxation? How important is that to you?
Amine – After every event! I seek serenity, sandy beaches, and a lot of relaxation! It is super important to recharge and come back stronger to another event!
Hiba – This type of work and racing, with all its challenges, are sources of mental relaxation for me. I also enjoy hiking and going to the beach.
What advice would you have for people that are looking to possibly start their own race brand and for those also getting started in the sport of obstacle racing?
Amine – Seek for a remarkable organization and take good care of your participants as they are the fuel of any race! Build a community and not just an event! Seek for perfection in your races, money will for sure on a later stage!
Hiba – I encourage anyone with the passion for such sports to work on their own brand and succeed in it.
Tell us, what is ahead for you in 2022?
Amine – 3 consecutive race will be ahead for 2022-2023: Kuwait – Dubai – Egypt
Hiba – We’re finalizing races in Dubai, Egypt and Kuwait for now.
Lastly, what can we learn about you that would surprise us? The floor is yours to introduce you to everyone reading today.
Amine – Surprise: OCR Buddy will have a superb role in 2022-2023 races! I am sure that this will surprise you and your amazing readers too! (OCR Buddy note: This did surprise me!)
Hiba – I have multiple certificates, such as powerlifting, TRX and body pump. I am currently working on my indoor cycling coaching qualification, personal training course and a certified nutrition coach program. What may be surprising about this is that I don’t intend on teaching or coaching; I just want to enhance my knowledge!