Alya Alghamdi is a track and field athlete from Saudi Arabia. Growing up in a place where girls couldn’t participate in sports, she never imagined she would be on the way to try and represent her country in the Olympics as a female runner. 
In this episode, Alya shares about fleeing her country and going into hiding in Europe because she didn’t want to conform to the cultural traditions of arranged marriage. But it was during her time abroad where she became fascinated with sports like surfing, swimming, cycling, and running. It was through running that she found solace because it was the one thing she could do by herself. 
Alya’s unique story is one of resilience, of persisting through hardship even though the future doesn’t look promising. Having faced setbacks like not being able to return to her country for fear of her life, she dedicated herself to studying the law until she found a gap that let her prove she could opt to not have an arranged marriage. Or when she spent years training for the 2016 Olympics and was denied likely because she was older than the others. but while the younger athletes stopped training after their races, Alya kept going. She still keeps going. 
Alya’s spirit is one that is determined to keep breaking barriers. Her story isn’t over yet and she’s still training and building herself up for the 2021 Olympics and record settings in the 60/100/200 meters. She is striving to have Saudi Arabia honor women equally as men in sports, and her dream is to carry the Saudi flag at the Olympic games. As a symbol that women athletes deserve it just as much.


  1. Turn your phone off while in a workout. Aim for that feeling where nothing else matters except what you’re immersing yourself into at that moment.
  2. Whatever you give, you get back. Whether in sport, school, or education, whatever you sacrifice or invest in, will be returned to you. It can be relationships, family, hobbies. But you have to give up something in order to make room for what you want. 
  3. Allow yourself to be inspired by other’s stories, but remember everyone’s story is different and yours is unique too. So choose things that resonate with your own goals and life.


  • “Everyone is born with a gift. You just have to be fearless about it.” —Alya


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Thank you to my wonderful sponsor Metpro, Generation UCAN, and Alaffia for sponsoring this episode of the Running for Real Podcast.


I am very pleased to have MetPro as a sponsor for the Running 4 Real podcast. As before they were a great sponsor but not everyone could afford their services, and now they have been working very hard on new technology that can be made for anyone. I’m excited to share MetPro’s newest addition––The MetPro Platform, an app that allows you to experience the same science and tailored strategy that their experts use. 

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Thank you Generation UCAN, I have been talking about them for years and my ONLY source for fueling while I am training and racing. And without fail I have had a product of UCAN every day, whether it is a bar or their delicious cookies and cream protein powder. It gives you a steady energy without the sugar, so there are no sugar high or crashes! 

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This is a great and empowering website, which helps you to really look at the products you are purchasing for your family and friends. A social enterprise that has the goal of empowering empower African communities through the advancement of Fair Trade, education, sustainable living and gender equality. They have products for hair, face, body, babies and kids, lifestyle products, and a few supplements. 

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Thanks for listening! I hope you enjoyed today’s episode.

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Thank you to Alya, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.

culture, middle east, Olympics, tradition, women runner

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