Mariz Doss can certainly be described as a jack of all trades. She’s a mountain climber, a marathon runner, and an insurance advisor. At 33 years old, she has climbed the highest mountain in Africa, had dinner with former president of the US George W.Bush, and was a guest speaker in an event that included Bill Gates (co-founder of Microsoft) and Henry Kissinger (56th US Secretary of State). She was picked from among 100 Egyptian women to join the Women’s Initiative Fellowship program by the George W. Bush Institute. She describes herself as someone who has been given extraordinary opportunities. We sat down with her to know all about her athletic journey.
Mariz Doss certainly started young. “I used to watch all kinds of sports tournaments and go to school trying to imitate professional athletes. I played amateur basketball, soccer, tennis, and volleyball during my school years,” she said.
With a passion for sports that accompanied her all her life, Mariz grew into a marathon runner, a mountain climber, and a traveler, all while excelling at a 9 to 5 job!
“It sounds overwhelming and crazy but everything has its own timing. As a mountain climber, I still see myself as a beginner. Each mountain has a specific season because the last thing you want is to be in the middle of a storm during a climb and aborting the whole mission due to weather conditions,” she said.
“Both sports require a disciplined schedule and mental strength. I do often have to sacrifice social events and it’s not always easy,” she continued.
“Some days I feel discouraged and resentful of my routine and literally drag myself out of bed to train. Then, I remember why I do what I do, and to me, it’s worth every sacrifice.”
Even though she’s achieved a lot at a young age, Mariz Doss’ climb to the top wasn’t without hurdles.
“Around 10 years ago, I got a knee injury that prevented me from doing any sports. Having to rest for a whole year and go through rehab and physiotherapy, all I thought about was that I’d been taking my ability to move and play for granted. We should be thankful for this gift every day.” she said.
The doctor recommended that she start running to strengthen her muscles and, she certainly took the recommendation to heart.
“I haven’t stopped since I first started! I never could’ve guessed that this injury would make me into a marathoner. At first, a 500-meter run was a mission impossible for me. Now, I’ve run 20 half marathons, 1 full marathon, and so many 10K races,” she said.
Luckily, Mariz didn’t have to jump these hurdles alone. “One of the biggest blessings that I have in my life is my supportive family and friends. I feel so humbled when they say they’re proud of me,” she said.
However, not everyone shared the same sentiment. “I remember a lot of boys making fun of me just for being a girl. I would answer to their mockery in the field where I scored one goal after the next. It was a lot of fun watching their faces!” she continued.
“If it were really true that “sports are not for women” then how do we see female athletes making remarkable achievements in all kinds of sports?”
Moments of Pride
When asked about her proudest moments she mentioned that finishing her first full marathon after dreaming about it for years and training for it for 6 months was definitely one of them. Also, reaching the summit of the highest peak of Africa in the toughest weather conditions was definitely on that list.
However, all these achievements made her appreciate times when she knew when to stop and not exert herself. “This happened when altitude sickness hit me hard on my attempt to climb Island Peak in the Himalayas back in 2019. After months of training and getting into shape to climb that mountain, I decided to go back down. That day I learned that it’s ok to stop and turn back,” she recalled.
“Realizing that our bodies have limitations and that we were not born to be superheroes who keep rocking all the time was a proud moment as well.”
Funtasia, Giving Back Like a Girl
In March 2017, Mariz Doss was invited to lead a mind and body workshop for children which took place in Funtasia – a creative learning center by Elisa Sednaoui Foundation in Luxor – Upper Egypt.
“After my 5-day workshop, I was amazed by how beautiful the place was. I felt like it was my purpose to pass on my experience. I wanted to give back. Through my activities and with the support of my sponsors, I manage to raise funds that I direct over there,” she said.
For the future, Mariz Doss plans to climb Mont Blanc – the highest peak of Europe in 2022. She also has her eyes set on a couple of mountains in the Himalayas. As for the marathons, when physical races are held again after the covid pandemic resolves, she’ll continue running the world!
Click here to follow her trail to the top!