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”

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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/

 

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”

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”

Davies family complete Tough Mudder

This is a guest post by Yasmin Davies.

As you’ll know if you read my previous article, my siblings and I decided to take on the fearsome Tough Mudder challenge in order to raise money for Cancer Research on behalf of our beloved mother who sadly passed away after a short battle with Breast Cancer last year. This was a somewhat insane decision, but after several months of preparation, we finally faced the London West challenge yesterday, on Saturday 30 April.

Continue reading “Davies family complete Tough Mudder”

Siblings take on Tough Mudder in memory of mother

This is a guest post by Yasmin Davies.

We are a team of 5 family members, who, in a moment of scary premonition, have decided to attempt the extreme and possibly foolish Tough Mudder challenge in order to raise money for Cancer Research on behalf of our beloved mother! Our challenge takes place near Henley on Thames on 30 April.

Yasmin Davies - BG Survival Race

Our mother Zahra Davies who worked as an NHS interpreter for many years, was an active member of her community, giving her time on earth to serving people in need, humanity and her family. She was incredibly brave in voicing and standing up for the rights of the people as well as fighting against oppression. One of her main aims was to help community relations and establish peace in some of the most unpleasant situations around the world. She passed away in September 2015 after a short battle with Breast Cancer.

At this sometimes inconceivable and strange juncture in our lives we found ourselves contemplating life, humanity and how short our time on earth truly is! Which led us to our decision, to do whatever it takes to help give back and raise money for Cancer Research, which for us is an extremely worthy and rewarding charity, as it has the potential to save others from some of the unfortunate memories we share.

We have decided the best way for us, we hope, is by pushing ourselves and entering the Tough Mudder event! I have already taken part in a the Bear Grylls 5k obstacle course challenge, as well as an endurance walk, completing 25 miles in 13 hours. We expect our latest challenge to be tiring but fun.

Yasmin Davies - BG Survival Race

Please help to minimise the impact of this self-inflicted torture by donating a few quid and sending us a few words of much valued encouragement! Your generosity of time, money and good will is much appreciated.

To support Yasmin and her siblings, please visit their fundraising page today.

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.

Coventry Half-Marathon success

On Sunday 28 February 2016, a team of 75 runners supporting Penny Appeal hit the streets of Coventry, pounding the pavements for over 13 miles to raise money to support refugees.

They took part in Coventry’s Half Marathon and far exceeded their fundraising targets, bringing in over an incredible £46,000 for Penny Appeal’s Refugee Emergency campaign. The money will go on to provide vital aid to those fleeing conflict, with the charity’s teams on the ground in places like Lebanon, Syria and Greece, delivering things such as nutritious food, warm clothes and hygiene kits.

Mergim Butaja, whose family fled from war-torn Kosovo when he was just seven years old, said the challenge was a way of showing solidarity with those in desperate need. He said: “Despite the setbacks during training and a few muscular pains at the start I was determined to finish the race. Jog, sprint, walk, hop, roll or crawl – I was going to finish!”

Throughout the winter, the team has been meeting up to train together, inspiring one another to try harder. Signing up is one thing but to commit to fundraising, then turning up on race day, takes a huge amount of courage and determination.

“Running Coventry’s Half Marathon was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life!” said Samera Rehman.

Susie James agreed. “I’m so glad I said yes to this challenge!” she said, “I found out about an incredible charity, which does the most incredible things for the most vulnerable refugees. I challenged myself physically by running further than I ever have before — channelling every pain and injury into a focus on the task in hand: raising funds for those suffering much greater pains.”

The #TeamOrange volunteer family also hosted a special Cheer Station at mile 12, giving runners a bit of extra encouragement for the final mile. They handed out juicy oranges, donated by a generous sponsor, and made plenty of noise as the 5,000 runners made their way past. The new Penny Appeal bus was also present, giving supporters an insight into the charity’s work to help the poor and needy worldwide.

 

To join #TeamOrange or find out about upcoming challenges and volunteer activities, visit the Penny Appeal website.

 

Hooded Howlers tackle Endurance80

This is a guest post by Yasmin Davies.

On Saturday 5 February 2016, three scout leaders from 23rd Wembley Sahabah Scouts took part in the exhausting hiking challenge, Endurance80: a 24 hour hike covering 50 miles (80 km) cross country starting and ending at Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire.

edurance80

Starting out at Great Missenden, our team of three — the Hooded Howlers — followed the route east to Chesham, then northwest to Wendover, southwest to Princes Risborough and Stokenchurch, before returning to Great Missenden. The weather was chilly, with light snow on the ground in some places — muddy underfoot elsewhere.

hooded-howlers

Unfortunately due to injuries within our team we had to drop out early, after completing 25 miles in 13 hours. However we still managed to raise funds for our scouting group by taking part. Furthermore, it was great training for our upcoming Tough Mudder challenge.

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).

RunFit 12 Week Challenge: Men vs. Women

AMRC Group photo

The Atlanta Muslim Running Club (AMRC) is a running club based in Atlanta in the US state of Georgia. It started with few runners getting together to encourage, inspire, and motivate Muslims in the Atlanta area to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

The club is open to both men and women and meets every Sunday morning for a group run. AMRC started with just a few people, but has rapidly grown to 200+ members since the inaugural run last August. Our group runs consists of 3-5 miles, with runners ranging from beginners walking to experts running all the way.

Running gets challenging during the winter season due to the cold mornings. To encourage runners to keep fit during the winter, we started a 12 week RunFit Challenge. To make it more interesting we divided our runners into two teams: men and women. The RunFit Challenge was designed to enable everyone, no matter their fitness level, to take part and complete the challenges. There were three challenges per week: a Social Media, Fitness and Running challenge.

AMRC Social Media ChallengeThe Social Media challenge was to encourage runners to discuss and share information about physical fitness on social media like Facebook. Some examples of a Social Media challenge include posting a picture of their running sneaker one week and then posting their goals another week.

The Fitness challenge consisted of exercises to strengthen the upper body, legs, knees, gluts, etc. which are all needed to keep oneself injury-free whilst running. Some examples of fitness challenges were completing 200 push-ups, planking for a total of 10 minutes for the week, and 3 sets of 20 lunges twice a week.

AMRC Group photo

The Running challenges consisted of running a few miles at the beginning of our RunFit Challenge to running 10 miles for the week with the goal of completing a non-stop 5k by the end of 12 weeks. We also gave bonus points for attending our weekly Sunday morning group run and participating running events such as a 5K or 10K.

The team with the highest points after 12 weeks would win the RunFit challenge with the bragging rights of being better than the other gender. Our 12 week RunFit challenge recently ended with the Women’s team beating the Men’s team. We had 58 members participating and now they are eager to start another challenge.

The 12 week RunFit challenge was competitive and fun at the same time. In the course of 12 weeks many have joined AMRC who never ran before and now they love to run and meetup for our weekly Sunday group run. They feel great after the run, feel more energetic, and many accomplished their long time goal of completing a race. We had members come out and join group run in mid-30 degree weather just so they can gain points for their team.

The AMRC goal is to get more Muslims into physical fitness so we can live better and healthier, inshallah. To find out more about AMRC or to find out how you could start a similar group in your area, please visit our Facebook page.

 

Walk, jog or run the Coventry Half Marathon to help Refugees

Get active for a good cause by joining Penny Appeal’s “Run For Their Lives” challenge!

Penny Appeal’s new fundraising manager Haroon Mota will be leading #TeamOrange as they take on 13.1 miles at Coventry’s Half Marathon on Sunday 28th February, and you could be one of them.

#TeamOrange are looking for amazing individuals like you to join Haroon and take on this incredible challenge, to provide vital provisions for refugees who have been forced to flee their homes. You’ll help provide food packs, hygiene essentials and medical supplies, which for many people could be the difference between life and death.

Also taking on this challenge is Mergim Butaja, star from 2015 BBC The Apprentice series. You could be joining him and the rest of the team. This is your chance to do something AMAZING!

Registration & further info: https://www.pennyappeal.org/appeal/run-for-their-lives

Penny Appeal fundraiser Haroon Mota For enquiries contact Haroon

– M:  07743 518 068 E: haroon.mota@pennyappeal.org

Follow and support the team on Twitter @Haroon_Mota

Penny Appeal joined forces with Amir Khan to deliver a life saving convoy to refugees arriving on Lesbos Island

Bear Grylls survival challenge

This is a guest post by Yasmin Davies.

Yep, so we survived! As a scout leader I took our Cub scouts to the BG Kids Race and then competed in the 5k race myself.

The idea of the race is based on the idea that overcoming adversity in the wild can build a man or woman’s physical and mental strength in a totally unique way.

“So many people seek adventure and challenge through computer games, when in truth we can all develop our own wilderness warrior spirit and physicality, for real.”

Bear Grylls seemed to be surprised that Muslim women were involved in scouting, which is why he took interest in our group and gave us VIP treatment for the day!

Yasmin Davies takes on BG Survival Race

I must admit that his response of astonishment at muslim women being active in scouts and sports was shocking to me, coming from the UK Chief Scout and a celebrity — Bear Grylls, after all, has become known around the world as one of the most recognised faces of survival and outdoor adventure. However it gave me a huge push to continue to do dawah, especially for Muslim Women in the UK, inshallah.

There are many more adventures to come, inshallah.

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