Ayesha’s Tough Mudder Story

I got down on my knees, closed my eyes and inhaled what only seemed like a life-size tub of Vicks Vapo-Rub. Never in my life had I ever screamed so much profanity as I wriggled my way through the tightest and muddiest of tunnels. I tried so hard to keep my mouth shut and hold my breath, ‘anything’ I thought, to keep the immense amount of menthol vapour that was blasted in my face from winning over me.  And that, was just one of twenty-nine staggering obstacles I overcame during my Tough Mudder experience.

I’m one of those ‘on and off’ types when it comes to hitting the gym. My twenty pounds a month subscription doesn’t often show much return, but I refuse to give it up – I need it to keep me going emotionally. When I’m there, I’m good. I feel strong. I feel empowered.

I was working in Corporate Communications for a company that went on to sponsor Mini Mudder, the kids’ version of Tough Mudder in the Summer of 2015. My colleague managed to secure free tickets (normally up to £90) for a set number of us to take part. When I was initially asked if I wanted volunteer I laughed and said ‘yeah sure’ without even thinking about it. Then came the day that I discovered my name was down on the official list. ‘Crap’, I thought, ‘I’m not fit enough for this!’ But anyone who knows me well enough knows two things about me; I’m always up for a crazy challenge and I love defying the stereotype of a Muslim woman. And I was the only Muslim here, I had to do this for my women. Continue reading “Ayesha’s Tough Mudder Story”

No different from the next runner

Nice article on the ParkRun website:

22-year-old university student Namrah Shahid had never run before taking part in Woodhouse Moor parkrun for the first time last April.

By her own admission she was instantly hooked, and Namrah is now working with Leeds University to encourage other female Muslims to take part in physical activity by breaking down some of the barriers that stand in their way.

When it comes down to it, the key difference between being a hijabi runner (wearing a Muslim female head covering) and any other runner is simply the dress code. As a hijabi runner I am no different from the next runner, but yet female Muslims are enormously underrepresented in running events and organised physical activity in general.

Read the article in full here: http://blog.parkrun.com/uk/2017/02/03/no-different-to-the-next-runner/

 

Tough Mudder Half for Islamic Relief

Alrighty, get ready to take part in one of the toughest challenges on the planet. One of Islamic Relief‘s latest fundraising challenges is Tough Mudder Half, a 5 mile mud run designed to drag you out of your comfort zone with a test of physical strength, stamina, and mental grit.

With the help of your fellow Mudders, you’ll overcome mud-drenched obstacles and adrenaline-pumping challenges. And you’ll do it all while having incredible fun.

With no podiums, winners, or clocks to race against, it’s not about how fast you can cross the finish line. Rather, it’s a challenge that emphasises teamwork, camaraderie, and accomplishing something almost as tough as you are.

The challenge will take place on Saturday 29th July 2017 at Broughton Hall in Skipton, Yorkshire. There’s a registration fee of £49 and fundraising target of £1000.

Not sure if a challenge like this is for you? Check out a few of the stories we’ve published from the Muslim Mudder Nation to date:

So who’s up for the challenge? If it’s you, click here to register your place! Good luck.

Ayesha’s Cycle Challenge

A poetic summary of reflections on my Andalusia Cycle Challenge 2016 for Islamic Relief’s Water4Life project:

 

Cycling through the plains of the stunning South of Spain

While desperately trying to distract myself from the pain

That led from my backside right down to my knees…

I inhaled the smell of a thousand olive trees

Continue reading “Ayesha’s Cycle Challenge”

Template: Tough Mother

This is a template for an adventurous fundraising event aimed at mums. As with all event templates on this blog, feel free to use or adapt it as you please.

Overview

A fundraising challenge, in which four teams of five Muslim women are sponsored to complete an arduous but fun obstacle course challenge. It is a ladies-only event, led by female instructors, aimed particularly at mums from the local community.

Participants can expect to trek over a variety of terrain, including hills, riverbeds and forest, as well as climb, crawl, wade and jump their way through numerous obstacles.

The challenge is designed to push participants to their limits, encourage positive team work and get their adrenalin pumping. It is open to women of all fitness levels: no experience is necessary, but a sense of adventure and determination is crucial. Continue reading “Template: Tough Mother”

Why you need to race in a mud run (and how to survive it)

A Busy Mom's Guide to Being Awesome-ish

While I definitely consider myself to be fairly fit, I am by no means a runner. I have always loved the idea of running, so back about 6 years ago, after I had my first child, I took up jogging. It made sense, given that it is tough to find activities you can do to stay fit with your kids, and throwing them into a jogging stroller is the lowest hanging fruit (see my blog on 8 Ways to Workout with Your Kids for more ideas). However, it was more difficult than it seemed. It took me quite a while to build up to my goal, which was 5k.

I set myself a target, which was to run in my first race. I settled on the Toronto Waterfront Marathon 5k. Seemed like a great idea, but in reality, didn’t work out to be that fun. It was like the perfect…

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Manal Rostom

The Egyptian Hijabi Model Shattering What it Means to be a Muslim, Arab Girl

At 37-years-old, Manal Rostom has climbed mountains, can speak four languages, and became a figure for fighting stereotypes about women in hijab. Yet, she still has to deal with those who look at her as a veiled woman with an empty head. Rostom speaks to Egyptian Streets about her adventures, moments of pride, goals, and fears.

 

Template: Eid Mud Run

This is a template for sisters-only fundraising event, based around a mud run challenge. As with all event templates on this blog, feel free to use or adapt it as you please.

What is it?

This challenge could be summarised as: Superhero Run meets Eid Party meets Tough Mudder. It is a sisters-only event in which participants are sponsored to take on and complete one of two obstacle course challenges, to raise funds for charity. Continue reading “Template: Eid Mud Run”

The forerunners of the Nike hijab

Social media is awash these days with talk of Nike’s sports hijab, from both those in favour and those against. Personally I’m all for global brands increasing opportunities for Muslim women involved in sport. We wear their trainers, tracksuits and sports bras, so why not what we wear on our head? The only reservation I have is that they will begin to eat into the market of smaller brands, that have already worked hard to bring modest sportswear to market.

It is encouraging then, that many in the Muslim community have been willing to champion and support these pioneers, at a time when a brand with global reach is getting all the attention. Businesses such as Friniggi and Nashata are rightfully receiving the attention they deserve as the forerunners to Nike’s efforts.

All businesses are motivated by profits. The Nike sports hijab was initially developed in response to requests from a Muslim athlete, and they clearly recognised a gap in the market. Surely it is positive that they recognise the drive towards equality in sports: we should commend their efforts. But we should still recognise that they are also benefiting from the hard work of the smaller brands that preceded them, most of whom did not have the vast capital reserves of the likes of Nike to invest in research and development. Instead they invested in the product from their own time and money, investigating breathable fabrics, testing different styles and designs for comfort and safety… and then went to work attempting to market their products to a global audience, without the benefit of vast advertising budgets.

Most small businesses can really only rely on word of mouth recommendations, and reputation. Perhaps some will be able to advertise in relatively small-scale Muslim publications, but few will run on TV or in the mainstream sports press. A viral social media campaign is perhaps the best they can hope for. Even Muslim charities which send their supporters out to run marathons in branded kit, lack the foresight to strike a sponsorship deal with these manufacturers of modest sportswear. Too often it is every man for himself.

I, for one, hope that the Muslim community will begin to better value those small brands working to make participation in sport easier and more comfortable for Muslim women. Buy their products, recommend them to friends, flag them up on social media, blog about them — in the same way you would for a brand like Nike. Recognise that smaller brands may have higher overheads, less access to the supply chains which promise us cheaper products delivered at minimal cost: be prepared to give them a leg up, and help them establish themselves. In short, just do it!

Template: Joining Letter

When you’re organising a challenge, participants always really appreciate clear guidance and information about the event. I suggest putting together a joining letter or email along the lines of the one below. Your supporters will thank you for it! Continue reading “Template: Joining Letter”

Trial and tribulations

Luton Islamic Centre, located in the heart of Bury Park, is a hive of activity. Daily there are study classes open to men and women. On Saturday nights volunteers from the mosque serve soup to the homeless on Luton’s streets. The prayer hall, meanwhile, regularly overflows with aid supplies, ready to be dispatched to the desperate and destitute in war-torn Syria. And while many other mosques turn women away at the front door, this one welcomes them, inviting them to participate in the religious life of the community. Continue reading “Trial and tribulations”

San Francisco Mudlims

race_2332_photo_46957744On Saturday 1 October 2016, twelve adventurous Muslims from the San Francisco area took part in the brilliant Muckfest fun run to help raise funds for the MS Society’s. Running as a team calling itself the SF Mudlims, they took on a light-hearted 5K obstacle course.

race_2332_photo_46942181Set up to allow participants to have a good friends, the Muckfest mud run is not super challenging: no suffering or pretence of toughness here.

Proceeds from the event will go towards raising awareness and supporting those living with multiple sclerosis — a cause close to one of team Mudlims’ participants, who has MS herself. An amazing time was had by all involved.

Zip Lining B)

Rana E.

As promised here is the blog about my zip lining experience. Now I know all those who went sky diving won’t think much of this but I’m taking it step by step. I love new experiences and I love outdoor activities but there’s just a tiny part of me that always manages to have a mini panic planned RIGHT before I jump into new things. Some things I can handle, others, like jumping off high edges, I seem to think “oh…well..okay” 😐


I know you’ve seen my blog where I jump off the peer into the water, but like I said, it was into the water. And although I don’t know what might be lurking there, I know the pain of me landing in the water is MUCH less than if I fall to the ground from I high distance 😛

It all started when we went to the beautiful…

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