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/

 

8 Simple Conversation Running Points for Non-Runners

Unsure what to ask your running friends after their weekend running event? Want to give encouragement but unsure what to say? Here are some talking points when you get to meet them.

Before that, here is some information about running events:

  1. A runner registers for a particular category. These are the common ones:
    1. Full Marathon / Marathon is 42.195 km.
      Remember : A marathon runner runs 42 km. Anything below this distance is not a marathon. 
    2. Half Marathon is 21 km
    3. 10 km run (not a marathon)
    4. 5 km run (not a marathon)
      There are trail run, ultra run – more than the distance of a full marathon and the list goes on. Ask your friend about the category.
  2. Every runner who finishes a run within cut-off time gets a medal. No medal for non-finishers. This is one of the reasons why finishing a run is important to runners.
  3. Prizes on the other hand are for top runners for each category. Every running event has different categories – at organizer’s discretion.

Simple yet pleasant questions

Where did you run?
Some runners travel to run. They would participate in running events in different locations and cpuntries. This is because every running event offers different experiences ; climate, route, people, food and medal 

How many km did you run?
Find out how many kilometers(km) he or she runs. A runner typically chooses the distance he or she wishes. Anything below 42 km run is not a marathon, they are just runs. A marathon runner runs a 42 km run. However, he or she may run a half marathon, 10 km or full marathon to suit their training plan and fitness level.

How was the run?
Every run is different. Each run has different routes; some hilly, some flat and sometimes a mix of both. This affects the performance of the runner. The weather and temperature can affect performance too.

Are you happy with your run ?
Typically, runners who race have targets. They may be happy with performance and sometimes not. Sometimes, they can be happy to just finish the run without any injury.

What is your Personal Best time for <a particular category>?
Every runner wants to perform better in the category they register for. Personal Best (PB) time is a benchmark for runners to improve subsequent runs. Improving timing is important to them. 

How many participants were at the run?’
There are a lot of participants at a running event, in thousands and some in five digit figures. A lot of runners compete at a run and the level of their performances differ from one to another. Unless your friend is a fast runner, or competes in a not-so-established event, typical podium winners are the professionals runners. 

Thousands of people waiting for flag off time for 21 km category

Who did you run with?
A runner may have a running group or buddies he or she trains with. There are runners who run solo.

Running events are where runners get to meet each other

When is your next run?
If you have a nice conversation with your running friend, you can end with a positive note – asking about next running event.

Or you could offer a pat of your friends back and say Well Done! or Congrats! orRecover Well! Even better: you could join your friend.

Established in May 2013, Nashata designs and produces affordable modest ActiveWear. The philosophy behind Nashata designs revolves around giving comfort, choice and confidence to women taking part in sport and active lifestyles. To find out more, please visit our website Nashata.com, or visit our blog.

King of Kampung Kemensah 18K Trail Run

IMG_4112I had several experiences running in various trails, yet I have never ran in Kampung Kemensah before. So I had no idea about the condition of the trail, or the level of difficulty that I might face. The organizers did not upload any map or elevation chart in their official website, however they did write down the checkpoints yet I had no clue about the distance between those checkpoints. I could search for videos uploaded by past year’s participants, but deep down inside, I did not want to spoil the surprise. Despite my lack of knowledge about the venue, I decided to proceed anyways with the race. There was a sense of thrill going into the unknown and taking risks with the unfamiliar. Or as the Malaysians say it, “Main redah je lah!”

IMG_4116It turns out that the route was not difficult, yet it was challenging. The inclines were steep with elevation gain of more than 300m, and most of the ground was muddy. The forest was dense, but the trail was well-groomed. I was glad that I was wearing proper trail running shoes and carrying a hydration bag. As we approached closer to the mid point of the race, I can hear the gushing sound of water. Just as I anticipated, river crossing is a part of the route. The water went only to my knees, but the rocks at the bed of the river was slippery so I had to slow down and be extra careful not to slip.

Since I was running in an unfamiliar route, I did not set any PB (personal best) target to beat as I did not know what to expect. So I took my time, absorbing my surroundings and enjoying the trees, nature, and sounds of insects. I even bumped into a few familiar faces along the way.

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Some familiar faces in the trail/ultra running community. I wish I had the time to snap some pictures with everyone, it was like a reunion party!

All trail runs are challenging in their own way, and Kemensah is no exception. I had no regrets diving into the unknown, while catching up with some people along the way. I would definitely come back again next year, hopefully for the 50K category.

 

Established in May 2013, Nashata designs and produces affordable modest ActiveWear. The philosophy behind Nashata designs revolves around giving comfort, choice and confidence to women taking part in sport and active lifestyles. To find out more, please visit our website Nashata.com, or visit our blog.

Running in the Palestine Marathon

Take inspiration.

Ultra Runner Girl

Let me start this race report by saying that I hate marathons. Running on road for 42km without the ability to just pee wherever I want like I can on trail…? Sounds like torture. But the Palestine Marathon was different. Running this marathon had a purpose and I wanted to be a part of it.

The Palestine Marathon is organized by non-profit organization, Right to Movement (RTM), to promote the basic human right to freedom of movement as stipulated under Article 13 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The RTM is a global community of runners who “run to tell a different story”.

The marathon takes places in Bethlehem starting and ending at the Church of the Nativity. Due to the presence of the 8-meter concrete Israeli separation wall, checkpoints and road blocks, it is impossible for the organizers to find 42 km for a full course, so runners are…

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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.

 

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

Muslimahs Endure

Looking for inspiration and motivation to get fit and healthy in the coming year? Then meet Muslimahs Endure, a great grassroots, community organisation based in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Originally named Muslimahs Run, they first got together on 31 July 2014 with the aim of promoting holistic health, fitness and modesty among Muslim women through endurance sports.

Their vision is to foster a healthy Islamic environment for Muslim women and girls to excel in competition or in recreation.

The first group meetup brought out five Muslim women who walked a mile in the rain.  As the group continues to grow they are also transforming the way they operate to improve their ability to reach and service as many Muslim women as possible.

They intend to provide women and girls with the encouragement, motivation and tools they need to reach their fitness goals. These transformations include adding opportunities for Muslim women to be introduced to other endurance sports, specifically swimming and biking.

For more information, please visit their website www.muslimahsendure.com

From D- to A+: One Running Girl’s Journey

This is a guest post by Kanza…small reflections on her big journey from mattress to marathon!

“I can’t run…you’re so committed and good at it and I can barely walk a kilometer without wanting to collapse…”

These were the words uttered by a friend when I asked her to consider joining me in a 5k race for fun awhile back. At the time we both chuckled and then the conversation moved on…but later that night I sat down and reflected on her words and suddenly the enormity of my own running journey hit me.

I am Kanza and I have run fifteen 10k races, have two 8.5mile race medals and am currently training for my very first half marathon in Birmingham this October in which I will be raising money for Islamic Relief’s #Running4Gaza campaign Inshallah. I also ran over 15km last night…for fun…and will soon be training with the Birchfield Harriers in Birmingham (the same team that Olympic gold medalist, Denise Lewis trained with).

But wait!! Before you decide to stop reading…let me tell you more about the real me….

I am also the same Kanza, the girl whose school report for PE, year on year, recorded an A- for effort but a D+ for physical skill. In a nutshell I was keen on sports and running but the teachers also knew I was completely and utterly rubbish! Yes I was that girl who wanted to be the committed cross country runner but couldn’t walk a kilometer without wanting to collapse. I was the kid that no one wanted on their team and would inevitably be the last person to be picked for a team simply because the reluctant team captain had no choice! I was the teen, with knock knees who would almost always end up falling over whilst trying to run because her knees were turned inward and would bash against each other and trip her up when attempting to run.

But now fast forward to 15 years later and here I am running for fun, playing sport for fun and somehow along the way I became good at it…at an age where sports people are often considered past their prime!

So how on earth did that happen?

The purpose of this post wasn’t to boast but to share my journey from my mattress to marathon. I hope that my journey encourages others. Many girls out there will probably identify to some extent with the second description of me, but very few will be able to imagine that they too can become the sporty version. But I promise you that Inshallah you can…and here’s just a few tips to get you started:

1. Move your mind

Nope that is not a typo…the biggest hurdle people think they have to overcome when wanting to start running is often considered to be the body but actually the real obstacle is your mind. The little voice that says “No not today it’s cold” or “Maybe I can run tomorrow” – (yes you know which voice I am talking about !) Well that voice needs to be silenced! The best way to do it is to make a firm intention to go out and do that run (even it if just 100 metres or just one lap round your back garden). Stick it in your diary as an appointment and make sure you keep it! Stick post-it notes on the mirror to remind you, alerts on your phone, put your running trainers somewhere visible, etc. All these (not so) subtle cues within your environment will set your mind in gear and prepare it for the physical challenge.

2. Accept you will find it really hard at first

The first time you attempt to run you will probably have grand visions of it feeling easy…but I will be honest with you…it won’t be…you will wobble, you will feel horribly out of breath very quickly, and you will wonder how on earth does a brother like Mo Farah make it look so darn easy? But hey, that’s ok! The first time I tried to run, I honestly barely managed a kilometer before I was sick in the park (classy I know!) But you know what? Even if you only manage 100 metres…that’s more than the person still lying on their mattress! And that my friend…is a small achievement to give you a boost! Which leads me nicely to my next tip…

3. Don’t give up

Yes those first few runs will be hard and you will wonder why on earth you’re putting yourself through it, but have patience and persevere – I promise it gets better! In my own personal experience it took 2 months of running twice a week (Saturday and Sunday) before I managed to see the benefits…my 100 metre runs became 5kms, I had more energy, felt healthier and weirdly, I felt strange if I didn’t go out for a run…we are creatures of habit…as long as we repeat the task a few times, our mind and body expect us to continue. Even if you only run once a week for a couple of hundred metres – keep it up – it is better than nothing!

4. Find a buddy

Running is always easier if you have someone to keep you company…that may be a friend who runs along with you or maybe the dulcet tones of Maher Zain on your ipod as you plod! If none of your friends want to run, then consider joining the park runs or the Great Run training runs in your local park (the latter have female only running groups too which cater for all running speeds). Both of these are free to join and it’s a great opportunity to make new friends and get fit!

5. Chart your progress

Nowadays we all tend to have smart phones…and the great thing is you can use them to help you become fit. There are plenty of running apps (MapMyRun, Nike+Running, Strava etc) you can download to log your progress. Or simply keep a note in your diary of your running achievement…how far you ran, where you ran, how you felt etc. If you are trying to lose weight then make a note of your weight and body size before you start running and chart your monthly progress…charting your progress will be a key step to keeping you motivated and to keep you going.

If like me you’re at a D- in sport…remember it doesn’t have to be that way foreveryou can change it! So there we have it…my first five tips to get you off your mattress and running a marathon (well maybe at least a few metres anyhow!) Practice makes perfect Inshallah! 

Feel free to leave comments about your progress – I would love to know how you all get on! If there are any particular running queries or theories you want to chat about – drop me a message and Inshallah I can try and blog about it for you!

But for now I pray everyone out there has a safe and beautiful running journey of their own – Ameen

Wasalaam

Kanza

Author’s Background

Away from running, in her day job Kanza is a Public Health Specialty Registrar and in her spare time is the Head of Sports and Well-being for the Living Islam Festival 2016. Her #Running4Gaza fundraising page is here: https://birminghamhalfmarathon2015.everydayhero.com/uk/kanza

Mud Pack Challenge

Further proof that obstacle course challenges are proving popular with charities as a fun and entertaining fundraiser… The Hospice of St Francis in Berkhamsted, Herts, is holding a Mud Pack Challenge this October (shortly after Eid Al-Adha).

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They are calling on local people and supporters to join their “highly enjoyable, adrenalin-fuelled, 5 mile obstacle course”. Participants of all fitness levels will crawl, jump, climb, scramble and slide their way through 170 acres of beautiful gardens, parklands & forests in the grounds of Champneys, Tring.

Grab your trainers & get ready for a 5 mile obstacle course around the gorgeous grounds of Champneys, Tring. A course filled with both natural and man-made obstacles set to test your wits, stamina and strength and get your adrenaline pumping. Whether you’re a seasoned obstacle runner or trying an obstacle run for the first time, The Mud Pack Challenge is for you! — Paul Stevens – Course Director

Those taking part will be helping the Hospice of St Francis to continue to provide care for local people with life-shortening illness. For more information, visit their website here: http://www.stfrancis.org.uk/i-want-to-help/event-pages/mudpackchallenge

5k Training Plan

This Training Plan provided by Cancer Relief’s Race for Life seems like a good place to start: http://raceforlife.cancerresearchuk.org/training/5k-training-plans I’m going to give it a go, inshallah.

Top tips for everyone

  • Wear comfy shoes and make sure your feet are well supported.
  • Look the part while training with our range of merchandise.
  • It’s also a good idea to wear a sports bra.
  • If you’re a beginner, increase the time you exercise for gradually.
  • Train with friends and help motivate each other.
  • Whether you walk, run or dance, go at a conversational pace.
  • Remember to warm up and cool down before and after any exercise.
  • It’s important to stay hydrated before, during and after exercise.

With spring around the corner, why not think about walking some or all of the way to work? If the full distance is a bit much, try getting off your bus or train a stop earlier and walking the rest of the way. You could join a running club or even form a walk-to-work group and get your colleagues involved.

And, while we’re there, it looks like I haven’t underestimated the appeal of muddy races: many of their Pretty Muddy races are already full! Subhanullah!

Catch the momentum

Just Put One Foot Forward… http://muzlimbuzz.sg/whats-the-deal-with-marathons/

For Siti Nurulhawanis Misbari, 24, every Muslim girl should follow Rugaya’s competitive spirit and think positively as the hijab is a symbol of liberation. This Assistant Engineer started running 4 years ago after being inspired by her polytechnic friend who run the whole school every single day after their final-year project. That prompted her to join her first run, which is also her favourite, the Great Eastern Women’s 10km run three years ago.

Continue reading “Catch the momentum”

Marathon Muslimahs

Great article in Muzlim Buzz from Singapore: http://muzlimbuzz.sg/whats-the-deal-with-marathons/

hawanis_sundown[1]Another accomplishment following the increase of runs and marathons in Singapore is the increase of Muslim women runners. Their presence can be clearly seen especially since aan aurah-abiding Muslim women’s attire is completely different. Where the standard women’s running attire consists of a sports bra or sleeveless t-shirt and shorts, a Muslimah is decked out in long-sleeve and knee-length shirts and long track pants.

This just goes to show that aurah guidelines is not a barrier to Muslim women wanting to participate in competitive sports. In fact, it might even be a better form of sportswear. Just look at hijab-wearing Rugaya Al-Ghasara, the first Bahrain-born athlete to win a major international athletics gold medal in the women’s 200m finals at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha. She was the only competitor clad in long-sleeve shirt and pants, as well as a Hijood which is a Hijab and sports hood combined.

Standing out among a sea of skimpy sports attires, it is really a sight to be seen as she celebrates winning her 200m heat with a sujud on the stadium itself. To top things off, she says her outfit allows for her to “combine her need for modesty with a design made from breathable, moisture-controlled fabric”. In addition, she hopes to inspire other women that modesty or religious beliefs do not have to be a barrier to participating in competitive sports, or any sports, in particular.

Wow, such an inspiration!

Muslimah 5K fun run in Singapore

MasyaAllah…the event was truly amazing. As a first time 5km runner, I felt that everything went so smoothly, Alhamdulillah. Kudos to Efah and her strong committee members who had done an extremely fantastic job in pulling together this inaugural muslimah run event! Well done, ladies!

http://rilek1corner.com/2014/02/09/exclusive-islamic-wow-run-gathers-likeminded-hijabi-muslimahs-at-marina-barrage/

Don’t jeopardise your health

Very important article on the importance of wearing a sports bra when exercising:

If you are the type to wear your everyday bra to the gym or that iron-woman marathon, you may be jeopardising your breast health. Shockingly, 75% of women do not wear sports bras when exercising or doing sports!
Most sports bras are made to be worn on their own without any need to wear a shirt over it.
But covering up modestly does not mean you can toss on any bra that is in your undies drawer.
Sports bras have a very important function – protecting your breast tissue.

http://friniggisportswear.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/sports-bras-bounce-control.html