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.

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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.

 

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.

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.