Why create our own obstacle course event when there are well over a hundred events sisters could take part in nationwide already? This is my case for a Muslimah-only event…
The best obstacle course events are great fun, combining adventure and challenge in equal measure, but many are not exactly Muslimah friendly.
With men and women running side by side in close proximity, an entertaining escapade can quickly turn into an awkward encounter. The muddy, physical quest, hilarious on its own, becomes a daunting trial, where all semblance of modesty is cast aside. And when it comes to crossing the finish line, the post- event entertainment is hardly halal, with beer in great supply after virtually every event.
Race organisers in the United States have already recognised the sensibilities of female runners, often put off by the bullish, hypercompetitive nature of the more popular obstacle races. There, women- only events number in their hundreds, providing a more satisfying environment in which to compete. Here in the UK, however, you will be hard-pressed to find an event catering specifically for women; the very notion of a female-only event will be written off for reinforcing gender stereotypes, whether women want such an event or not.
An event put on specifically by and for Muslim women promises a much more accommodating environment, where competitors can have fun without the fear of embarrassment, enabling them to put all of their energies into the challenge. With no men around, their wandering eyes banished, competitors can contentedly wade through water, climb over obstacles and crawl through mud unrestrained.
A Muslimah-only entry also allows the event to have a faith- based character: a motivational speech at the start can draw on Islamic teachings without fear of reproach, participants can confidently project their Muslim identity and the post- event entertainment can be wholly halal. In short, it can be a celebration of sisterhood and faith, and, of course, of mud, sweat and hilarious exploits.