Reposted from the Islamic Relief USA blog: Getting Muddy for a Good Cause.
On a Saturday morning in August, twenty very different people decided to run a 5k for a good cause. They put on their running shoes and ran, jumping over fallen trees, trekking up intimidating hills, and leaping over muddy streams. The runners even had to climb over some obstacles and crawl under others to complete the race. In the end, they were covered in mud.
The group of Muslim men and women had a single mission when they signed up for the Mud Factor race in Maryland this August: to raise funds for their favorite charity.
“This event was great for charity and a good event for Dawa,” said Abdel Rahman, one of the racers. “People were so impressed with all the hijabis running with the team … Integration is key to end the stereotypes.”
And they raised enough money to sponsor an orphan for the next five years through Islamic Relief USA in just two weeks before the race.
Race groups raised money for their favorite charities, and many charities were represented at the race. Abdel Rahman’s group had the unique opportunity to represent a Muslim charity at the event. And many of the other participants noticed.
“What makes a mud run really worthwhile and popular is the chance to raise money for Islamic Relief. We had people say how cool we were for trying something like this. We received so many high fives. One guy even said ‘Assalamu Alaikum.’ We asked this heavily tattooed man if he was Muslim and he said ‘no, but I have a lot of respect for your group doing this.’” said organizer Rasha A., of Falls Church, VA.
Another racer, Merehan E. from Fairfax, VA, recalled some other contestants surprised by Muslim women like her being active in the community. “I remember one lady giving us praise for doing this while being fully dressed, while another couple who wanted to join our team at our next event and they were not even Muslim,” she said.
Plus, the team had so much fun, they decided to plan their next group adventure in November at the Run or Dye race to raise even more support for IRUSA programs.
Teams like this in the community help facilitate understanding and cooperation amongst all community members, despite their background. More groups like these can help people in need, but also help others understand that Muslims are people who like to have fun too.
If you and your friends are adventure seekers, get involved with Team Fundraising: find a cause you would like to support and start a group. You can participate in many races or events in your community. It’s a way to put a smile on your face—and the face of someone in dire need.