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

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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.

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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.

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!

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

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.

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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.

Muslim Hands Crawl of Duty

Muslim Hands Scotland presents, Crawl of Duty: a 5K assault course to test your strength and stamina.

Join Muslim Hands as they embark on this obstacle packed mission to raise money for their Emergency Fund to support crises in Iraq, Palestine and Central Africa. Test your ability to the max and fuel your inner adrenaline to its peak as you fight for survival. From crawling through tunnels to jumping over walls and facing the ice cold water, you’ll be pushing yourself to the limit.

This gender segregated challenge (separate tracks for men and women) takes place at the Scottish Adventure Centre, Craufurdland Castle, Fenwick, East Ayrshire. If you live in Scotland or the north of England, this is a challenge not to be missed!

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Book your place today: https://muslimhandsuk.wufoo.eu/forms/crawl-of-duty/