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.

Sadly he passed away in July last year. At this time he had already raised more than half the funds and was well on his to becoming fit for Tough Mudder. It was an extremely difficult time: for us, for his friends, his colleagues and the thousands of people whose lives he had touched. But we didn’t want Bashir’s efforts and legacy to die with him. We as his siblings therefore decided to continue his fundraising and participate in Tough Mudder on his behalf.

The fundraising target by the grace of Allah was achieved within weeks of Bashir’s passing. Getting ready for Tough Mudder proved to be more tricky, at least for me. My younger siblings were generally quite fit; my brothers play a lot of football, while my sister is a marathon enthusiast, having run a number of half marathons already. I on the other hand am a workaholic and tend to dedicate very little time to other aspects of life. This had to change.

I joined the local gym, consulted a personal trainer, got a medical check up and diet advice. I felt very motivated but this came crashing down on the first day I hit the gym. I came face to face with how unfit I was and spent the next two days nursing some serious muscle ache. Determined, I went back to the gym that same week and soon started to feel the benefits of regular exercise.

Within a few weeks I was able to start running in the park which helped me to build stamina. In the gym I did 3 cardio classes and spent two days doing strength conditioning exercises. I would precede the cardio classes with a run. I did this for three months until Tough Mudder day came. My siblings had a similar training regime with some of them opting to do more running and others doing more of the football games they normally play combining it with weight lifting.

When the day came, none of us felt quite ready, but we were determined to finish it however long it would take. The Tough Mudder course is 12 miles long. There were some gruesome challenges: from the icebox challenge to the several 10-12 feet walls we had to climb. Everywhere was muddy, filled with periodic mud hills we had climb over and there were too many cold mud pools we had to walk through. If that wasn’t enough, Tough Mudder ensured electrocution was awaiting us at the very end. Our clothes were torn. I lost a leg of trousers halfway through and a shoe towards the end.

But the joy of all that anguish came when we passed the finish line and completed the course. It took us four and half hours. We needed a good few days to recover from the muscle ache and I don’t think any one of us would rush to do it again, but we are very happy to have realised our brother’s intention. We hope he would be proud.

Idil, Abyan, Muad and Mohamed

Tough Mudder for Bashir

Following the tragic death of Bashir Osman, head of FOSIS, last July, his siblings have joined together to take on Tough Mudder in his place, to raise money for Penny Appeal’s Thirst Relief appeal.

Bashir had been planning to take on the 12-mile challenge when the tragedy occurred last summer. With a fundraising target of £165,000, he was raising money to build 50 wells in East Africa, to benefit people in poverty and drought-stricken areas. He had planned to train for the event over a period of 12 months, in an effort to regain good health and inspire others to support the cause:

“As you all know I am in not the best of shapes over the past couple of years due to an abdominal injury. This injury has led me to gain weight exponentially. Over the next months I am going to part-take in Tough Mudder which is a 10-12 mile long obstacle course. In order to do this my fitness levels should to an adequate level.” — Bashir Osman

He was dedicated to this training regime until he passed away. Knowing that many people would benefit from his efforts, he was committed and passionate about this goal. So much so, that his own fundraising page has already raised £168,826 towards the cause.

Running under the umbrella of Bashir Osman’s Legacy, four of his siblings — Abyan, Idil, Muad and Mohamed — will take part in Tough Mudder East Midlands on Sunday 22nd of May. When their brother passed away, they were motivated to keep his memory and legacy alive by continuing his fundraising efforts, to not only reach his goal but to surpass it. They thus decided to complete Tough Mudder in his memory.

The siblings are working valiantly as a team to make this happen. Tough Mudder is a challenging obstacle course, spanning 12 miles of deep mud, barbed wire, ice cold trenches and other physically challenging obstacles. It is a test for everyone who takes it on, both physically and mentally. The members of the team have never taken on a challenge of this kind before, but they believe that with a lot of training and support they will complete it successfully to fulfil Bashir’s goal, inshallah.

Bashir’s siblings have a team target of £1000, which they are getting closer to each day. Please help them reach this target by making a donation to their fundraising page.

To show your support to the team, please make a donation on their fundraising page today.


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.


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:

Penny Appeal fundraiser Haroon Mota For enquiries contact Haroon

– M:  07743 518 068 E:

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