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/

 

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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.

Conquering our challenge

This is a guest post by Idil Osman.

Taking on Tough Mudder was one of the most challenging days each one of us have had. It was both emotionally and physically taxing, but yet immensely rewarding. The challenge to do Tough Mudder was of course our brother Bashir’s plan. He embarked on a fundraising campaign to build 50 wells across some of the driest and drought prone areas in east Africa. He had a fun raising target of £165,000, which he hoped to achieved by asking people to sponsor him to undertake Tough Mudder. Continue reading “Conquering our challenge”

Batman v Superman

Look superheroes, if you’re going to start competing with each other, at least let it be for a good cause. Put away those grudges, drop all that talk of supremacy and get yourselves down to Regents Park in London, for the ever brilliant Superhero Run.

Seriously, you guys, planet earth has a lot bigger problems to deal with than some idiot called Zod and your petty battles over who can change into his costume quickest. Problems like access to clean water. Imagine the good you could have done with the $225 million you spent walloping each other for 2.5 hours. Not to mention the fun you could have had.

Last year nearly 40 brave men and women took to the park on Sunday 17th May, raising thousands of pounds for Islamic Relief’s Water4Life campaign. Team Mix It Up — a group of ladies who train at a women-only fitness centre in Aston — raised almost £3000 between them. These superheroes signed up for this challenge to promote fitness and wellbeing in their community and to raise funds for clean, safe drinking water in developing countries.

So come on Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, whoever: bury the hatchet and break out those running shoes. Get yourself down to the Superhero Run on 15th May to raise funds for Islamic Relief. You’ll be joining 3,000 runners raising money for a tonne of other charities. You don’t need to have experience: it’s the taking part that matters, not the winning — so you can always jog or walk if you need to.

Last year’s event was a fantastic day out for all involved. They were true superheroes, raising funds to provide access to that most vital resource, that most of us take for granted: clean water. Be the change you want to see in the world. Be a superhero for the day.

For more information and to sign up, please visit the Islamic Relief challenges website today.

Kishy’s Marrakech Half Marathon

This is a guest post by Kishwar Willoughby. Enjoy!

On the 31st January 2016 I completed my first half marathon — all 13 miles of it — in the sunnier climes of north Africa. I was taking part in the Marrakech Marathon with fellow supporters of Human Appeal.

This is not something I would normally do. It was quite out of the ordinary to be honest, being the mother of two boys under 5, and I really didn’t have time to go out walking anywhere let alone train.

My mother passed away just over 10 years ago, when I was 16 years of age. Each day, every memory comes to me; as a child it’s natural to want to do everything for your parents. That’s where my volunteering started at Human Appeal. I saw the lives that Human Appeal International had changed and with that I wanted and intended to build a water well in the memory of my late dear mother, specifically in a poverty-stricken country, where people struggle to access clean water.

The thought of doing this for a good cause — as well as being a way of sending sadqa jariya ahead — was what motivated me to take on this massive challenge of running a half marathon. But I also wanted to show people that anything is possible for a woman and mother — and hopefully inspire them too.

As you can imagine juggling motherhood responsibilities with preparation for a marathon was not easy; more so as a single parent, as I needed to balance my training with the needs of my children. Alhamdullilah, I made it work, training twice a week. Indeed every training run made me more and more determined to complete my challenge.

What made me even more determined was my desire to prove that women can be fit and run marathons for charity, as well as being a stay-at-home mum! So that’s exactly what I did!

After weeks of training I finally completed the Marrakech Half Marathon in a tiring 2 hours and 58 minutes! It was a challenge, but I wanted to push myself running through the beautiful scenery of Marrakech. The sun was beaming down all day, with not a cloud in sight! Alhamdullilah, I did it!

The support system from everyone was brilliant; we even had our own little Human Appeal fan club cheering us on! I met many new people from around the world. Our short stay was truly an extraordinary experience! Alhamdullilah, I completely met my fundraising target. I’m proud to say that the work of building the water well in Senegal will now begin.

Primal Stampede

This is a guest post by Shehzad Modoolla.

Like many guys my age, I grew up watching shows like Fort Boyard, and always wanted to try my hand at something similar. But like many other guys my age, life always seemed to get in the way! There was always something else to do or somewhere else to be. My work mates have been doing Tough Mudder for the last couple years and every year I said I would join them, but never did.

So, when my Mrs signed up for Primal Stampede with her work colleagues and signed me up (without asking me!), I didn’t have much of a choice. It was already paid for, the weekend was free, the weather was forecast to be good — no excuses really.

Primal StampedeI was a bit reluctant at first, but when I looked into it, the gym (Primal Gym) appeared to be quite different — good different! Four free gym passes and four free customised outdoor training sessions came with the subscription so we both decided to give it a go. Might as well get some training under our belt so at least we don’t die on the day! Best decision ever! The gym training is completely different to anything I’ve seen before, the best way I can describe it, is it’s… organic (look it up!).

For a first in Leeds, Primal Stampede’s assault course was perfectly well balanced — just the right level of difficulty for beginners to get through, and experienced athletes to be challenged. A combination of load carrying, ice baths, water slides and the obligatory mud pit filled the day with fun and excitement. Two laps were required to complete the course, but at the end of it I felt like I could have done another one!

I enjoyed it so much I’m going back for another serving this year! Who would have thought! My advice to anyone else who, like me, has been putting it off would be to just take the plunge and go for it. Mud runs or assault courses or whatever other fancy names they are called these days, are really good fun.

Oh and all the time I raised money for Orphans in Need and the Jane Tomlinson’s Appeal.

Bring on 2016!

Women’s Winter Walk to Malham Cove

interpal-malham-coveThe winter walking season is well and truly upon us, keeping our limbs supple despite the icy chill. Gone are the days of sheltering indoors in the warmth of home: challenges call us, begging us to forgo comfort for a little while in order to support those less fortunate than ourselves.

So sisters pull on those winter scarves and extra layers; pull on that warm coat, walking shoes and gloves. The Yorkshire Dales — our little piece of paradise on earth — begs your company. It’s time to head for nature’s amphitheatre at Malham Cove, marching across open fields and by fast-flowing streams. Embrace the sisterhood and join Interpal’s Palestine Winter Walk, raising funds for destitute Palestinians.

In these times of political chaos, a walk in the countryside will be just what the doctor ordered. Reflect on the majesty of Allah and His creation as you head on over spongy grass, beneath leafless trees. Revel in good company. Feel refreshed and invigorated in the cold winter air. Work up a sweat and feel alive once more.

Malham Cove is a huge curved cliff formation of limestone rock, 260 feet high. It affords brilliant views down the dale towards Malham and beyond; no wonder it has been the source of inspiration for many an artist and author for centuries. Limestone pavements are a feature of Malham Cove and surrounding areas. The clints and grykes foster a unique eco-system for rare wild flowers and ferns.

This winter walk in support of Palestine is for women and girls only. Registration costs just £15, but you will need to try to raise £100 sponsorship from your friends and family. This is a unique opportunity to enjoy beautiful sisterhood whilst enjoying some of the most breath-taking scenery England has to offer.

This sponsored walk takes place on Saturday 23rd January 2016, 8am till 3pm, with transport available from Bradford and Dewsbury. Invite your friends and family to take part, and make a day of it. Once you have tasted the countryside of Britain, you’ll crave it time and again. The wilds are calling.

To register or find out more, please call 01274 656985 (Bradford) or 01924 466668 (Dewsbury).

Islamic Help Central African Republic Tough Mudder Challenge

On 26 September 2015, a group of Islamic Help supporters from Bedford will be taking part in Tough Mudder in an effort to raise funds to save lives in the Central African Republic (CAR), which is in the grips of a humanitarian crisis of catastrophic proportions.

Ethno-religious violence and political instability in CAR have left the country’s entire population vulnerable and more than 2 million people in need of humanitarian aid. Men, women and children continue to be killed. Homes, clinics, hospitals and schools have already been destroyed. The wounded continue to die slow deaths and their dead continue to remain unburied.

The funds raised will go towards supporting 25 families for 1 month. Islamic Help has carried out a major food and aid distribution programme at its camp for refugees from the Central African Republic. A team from the UK joined forces with staff at the camp in Garoua Boulai, Cameroon, for the project which ensures all the refugees in the camp have enough food to sustain them for a month.

Tough Mudder is a 10-12 mile obstacle course, featuring challenges which play on common human fears, such as fire, water, electricity and heights. It’s not for the fainthearted!

To support team Bedford take on this awesome challenge, please visit their fundraising page on the Islamic Help website

Insane Eid for Orphans in Need

This is a guest post by Shokat Zaman, Fundraising Officer at the award-winning charity, Orphans in Need.

Straight after Eid on Sunday 27 September, Orphans in Need will be taking part in Insane Terrain Part II. As the title suggests, this follows on from Insane Terrain Part I, which I participated in back in April this year.

Participants have the option of choosing either the 5k or 10k runs. Opting to err on the side of caution, we chose the 5k run, which by the end of the race, proved to be plenty!

My experiences of that day are still fresh in my mind. We started the day with a lovely early morning drive heading up from London to Peterborough, past the lovely Cambridgeshire countryside, before being guided onto a grassy area, which served as a makeshift car park for the run. It was difficult not feel uneasy at the sight which greeted us as we left the car, which was a large group athletic looking guys crumble to their knees, panting for breath. We quickly walked past them after making sure they were alright, eager not to tamper our excitement at the prospect of overcoming this awesome challenge.

insane

After being given a five-minute warm-up by a guy who bore a strong resemblance to the Drill Instructor from ‘Full Metal Jacket’, we made our way to the start line. The crowd who were there to watch us from the sidelines were a bright and cheerful bunch, quick to give their friends and family members taking part words of advice; “Have you warmed up properly, mate?”. “Pace yourself, don’t go running ahead of the pack from the start” said another.

The Orphans in Need crew came together in a huddle, giving ourselves a mini pep-talk before the start of the race. After a few brotherly hugs, we stood – arms akimbo- toes on the start line. As the horn sounded to signal the start of the run, many of us for whom this was a first experience, couldn’t help but smile through the first 100 metres.

After clambering up giant haystacks and wading through ankle deep streams of water which cut across the forest track, some of us made the decision to part company with the group. It was a pragmatic decision based upon careful consideration of the facts; we were tired!

The real sticking point came when our team members Mohammed and Hamza came across a big body of water stacked with a series of small sponge steps which we were expected to jump from one to the other without stopping, lest they fall into the water. After successfully navigating this particular challenge, Humza decided to pull Mohammed back and into the water. Mohammed was quick minded enough to pull Humza in with him, to hoots of laughter from all around.

By the time we reached the finishing line, having navigated our way through zip wires in the forest and balancing poles, we topped it off by sliding across a 30ft water slide being sprayed with fairy liquid. Yes we were tired, cold, wet and caked in mud, but we all felt we had achieved something that day. We pushed ourselves to the limit not because we had to, but because we chose to. In the end, it wasn’t tiredness that we felt, but an overwhelming sense of pride and satisfaction.

If you’d like to help me accomplish this daunting but rewarding challenge, please donate towards my sponsorship by visiting:

https://www.justgiving.com/Shokat-Zaman2

For further information or if you’d like to take part in our upcoming Insane Terrain challenge on 27 September 2015, please visit the Orphans in Need website. Free transport will be provided from London and Birmingham.

ToughBrudders take on Tough Mudder for MAP

On 27 September 2015, Mohammed Khankhara and Haseeb Khan will be running in a Tough Mudder event, to raise funds for the charity Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP). They say:

We will never forget the tragic events of the summer of 2014, when Gaza was relentlessly attacked leaving thousands dead and many more injured, they need our support more than ever not only for basic necessities such as food and clothing but also for medical aid. Many of the hospitals looking after the critically ill are desperately in need of medical experts or life-saving equipment and medicine.

Tough Mudder is a grueling challenge: 10-12 miles of running broken up with obstacles, which will test their grit, determination and teamwork, as well as physical and mental strength. The pair recently completed the National Three Peaks Challenge. The training for Tough Mudder will be more intense: sacrificing early morning lie-ins for 5-mile runs and a 5-7 day a week training regime until a week before the event, come rain or shine.

We are not physically ‘Tough’ people but in training for Tough Mudder, we hope to become stronger people physically and mentally and your donations will be the spark that ignites our motivation to see this through.

Without donations from generous supporters, MAP wouldn’t be able to do the work they do. They work for the health and dignity of Palestinians living under occupation and as refugees. They deliver health and medical care to those worst affected by conflict, occupation and displacement.

Working in partnership with local health providers and hospitals, MAP addresses a wide range of health issues and challenges faced by the Palestinian people. With offices located in Beirut, Ramallah, Jerusalem and Gaza City, MAP responds rapidly in times of crisis, and works directly with communities on longer term health development.

To support Mohammed and Haseeb, visit their fundraising page now.

Pretty Muddy for Cancer Research

A team of 17 Leeds research staff had a marvellously muddy time at Temple Newsam taking part in the Leeds Pretty Muddy for Cancer Research UK. Taking on obstacles including mud pits, climbing frames and slides they had  a great time getting very messy. ‘This was such a great event,’ said Andy Wilson, the Centre’s Engagement Manager. ‘Everyone enjoyed it so much they want to do it again – ideally with even more mud and more obstacles!’  As well as enjoying themselves the team have been busy fundraising for the charity and would love a few more donations, so if you can spare a couple of pounds please visit their JustGiving website.

Getting the most out of your Mud Run

This is a guest post by Yatie Nadzli , sharing 20 helpful tips on getting the most out of your Mud Run. Earlier this year, Yatie took part in the Viper Challenge, Asia’s biggest obstacle course event.

1. Form a team of fabulous teammates and prepare to have fun!

Continue reading “Getting the most out of your Mud Run”

Insane Terrain II for Orphans in Need

Hold onto your hats: this is going to cheer you up. Orphans in Need have a fabulous challenge lined up for you this September: their perfectly muddy off road obstacle course race, Insane Terrain, is back, spanning either 5km or 10km (your choice).

Taking place on 27 September near Peterborough, it’s a sponsorship event designed to help build a safe and loving orphanage providing holistic care for 150 orphans in Kashmir. Every pound that you raise by taking on this challenge will go towards making this vision a reality.

For more information, visit their Insane Terrain web page and sign up today. This is definitely a date for your diary!

Fatima toughens up for Muscular Dystrophy UK

Fatima Gouveia from Winchester writes:

I’ve never done a challenge before and for those of you who know me, you will be shocked to hear that I have recently joined our local gym……this is how serious and dedicated I am to do the challenge but most importantly to raise funds.

I lost my brother Dino 12 years ago to Spinal Muscular Dystrophy. As I watched him suffer, without complaining, I was struck by how indiscriminate the illness is and how helpless we remain in so many cases.

I want to do the Tough Mudder challenge to honour his extraordinary bravery in the face of the cruellest of illnesses and to support the vital research into finding a cure.

While the training is tough it is such a fantastic opportunity to raise a lot of money for a great cause and I will be inspired by the incredible courage and dignity shown by my brother right to the end. The cause is Muscular Dystrophy UK. Please dig deep and donate now. We can make a difference.

Tough Mudder is a team-oriented 10-12 mile (18-20 km) obstacle course designed to test physical strength and mental grit. Tough Mudder puts camaraderie over finisher rankings and is not a timed race but a team challenge that allows participants to experience exhilarating, yet safe, world-class obstacles they won’t find anywhere else.

To support Fatima, please visit her fundraising page.

 

Let’s eat cake

Like many people, we’ve looked on at Islamic Relief’s Cakes4Syria campaign with a mixture of awe and humility. Twice a week throughout the month of Ramadan, hundreds of volunteers have given up their own time to deliver over 15,000 delicious cakes nationwide. Yesterday alone they delivered 6000 of them in anticipation of a chocolaty Eid. Most of us have forgotten the heat wave of the first half of Ramadan; not so these valiant volunteers.

The Cake Campaign — the brainchild of enthusiastic Islamic Relief volunteer, Abdul Basit Ali — began in Bradford two years ago during the holy month of Ramadan. The formula is simple: famished folk order a tasty chocolate fudge cake for £10 and £5 of the proceeds are donated to Islamic Relief. It’s a win-win situation: we all get cake, while funds are raised for vulnerable refugees.

Last year the campaign went nationwide, with more and more volunteers joining forces to bring cake to the masses during the longest fasts of the decade. As is often the case with the eager volunteers who are the backbone of every charity, not even the hunger of a 19 hour fast could dampen their dedication to the cause.

With over a hundred volunteers manning the phones and almost a thousand more delivering cakes by car and on foot, it has been a logistical operation of immense proportions which, over the past three years, has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for humanitarian relief in Syria.

cakes4syria-london-team-800x600

Naturally this massively successful campaign has spawned many imitators, as other charities seek to capitalise on its astounding success. This year, for example, SKT Welfare launched its own take on the initiative with its Dates 4 Syria campaign, utilising nearly identical branding and a carbon copy business model. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the Cake Campaign must accept the adulation.

The genius and thoughtfulness of the campaign was incredible. In a move that would do Willy Wonka proud, the final batch of cakes were sent out with five Golden Tickets hidden inside the box. We suspect that even Augustus Gloop ordered a cake for Syria this week. Sadly not all of us were lucky enough to have our slice of cake this year, but we have no doubt this extraordinary campaign will return next year and grow from strength to strength.

Surely it is humbling to see what a vast group of dedicated volunteers can achieve when they all pull together for a common cause. Volunteers of Great Britain, we salute you! Watching from the sidelines (we’re not affiliated with any of the charities involved), we have been seriously impressed and are just an incy-wincy bit jealous. Mashallah, I think it’s okay to be envious of good deeds, mashallah, mashallah! May Allah grant us all the ability to act with such thoughtful selflessness as has been exhibited by this troop of volunteers over the past month.

The one outstanding issue that needs resolving for us, however, is how the nation is planning to burn off all those extra calories imbibed through overindulgence on chocolate fudge cake. Naturally, in a shameless act of self-promotion, we think we have the answer. It’s time to get training for our Adha Challenge of course. You’ve got two months to lick yourself into shape.

Let’s all eat cake this Eid. But when the baklava, halva, gulab jamum, marshmallows and oh too tasty cake have all been dusted off,  you must break out those running shoes. It’s nearly time for another adventure.

Hussain Master takes on Tough Mudder (again)

On 14 September 2014, Hussain Master from Preston in Lancashire did something extraordinary. He raised over a thousand pounds for the Dancing Eye Syndrome Support Trust, a charity which helps and provides assistance to children who have the rare condition, Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome. How? By conquering that famously feared obstacle course race known as Tough Mudder.

Pushing himself to his limits on a 12 mile obstacle course designed by Special Forces, he overcame every challenge thrown at him: the hills, mud, water, ropes, walls, electric shocks and burning fire, emerging with a massive sense of achievement. Such a task would defeat most of us, but Hussain was undeterred: even a dislocated shoulder and a dodgy knee caused by operations on both could not dampen his determination.

“It was a crazy event,” Hussain told us, “A few of us took part and we trained for it together, making sure we were all prepared.”

For most people, completing a challenge that overwhelms twenty percent of entrants would be enough: something to tick off the bucket list. But Hussain Master was just starting.

In two months’ time, on 12 September 2015, he will be doing it all over again, this time to raise funds for a local charity called A Day of Sunshine, based in the heart of Lytham St Anne’s in Lancashire. Working with children with life threatening illnesses, as well as children living in poverty, this charity aims to bring a little sunshine into the lives of deserving local children, by providing them and their families with free holidays at home and abroad.

Against the backdrop of Cholmondeley Castle in the Cheshire, Hussain will again take on the North West challenge, which is arguably one of Tough Mudder’s most unique and challenging events. Pushing on across the harsh terrain, through dark forest trails and over thick, heavy mud, every second will be a challenge. This ten mile obstacle course is designed to test physical strength and mental grit. It’s an adventure most of us would balk at.

Help Hussein accomplish this amazing feat with a donation towards his nominated cause. For further information and to pledge a donation, visit his fundraising page now.

Spartan Race hits Arabia

Covered in sand and splattered with mud, thousands of men, women and children ran, jogged and lurched across the finish line at the Spartan Race, the country’s first obstacle sprint run on Friday 20 February 2015. Strong winds stirred up sand from dunes at the Jebel Ali Racecourse, adding a natural challenge to the 5km course for participants who were already tasked with overcoming 15 obstacles.

Runners were released in waves over 15-minute intervals, with elite athletes sprinting out first followed by the open category. Caked in mud, with sand lashing their faces, more than 5,000 participants hauled themselves up ropes, crawled under, jumped over and squeezed between wooden walls, some of which were even topped with barbed wire. They yelled and whooped as they crossed the finish line, where volunteers handed them medals.