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”

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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.

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.

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.

Ladies Fitness Extravaganza

Get ready for a day of exciting sports and fitness activities. The Ladies Fitness Extravaganza held at Eden Girls School in Coventry on 21st February, is a unique event created to fund emergency aid to refugees arriving in Greece.

Ladies fitness extravaganzaWomen and girls from Coventry and surrounding areas will have an opportunity to experience a fitness bootcamp, try out zumba, yoga and tabata, play dodgeball and other games. A brilliant way to drive out the winter blues. Healthy refreshments and food will be available throughout the day. Attendees will also receive a free T-shirt and goodie bag.

The event will help Penny Appeal provide support to those fleeing horrible conditions who are in desperate need of help. Refugees arriving in Europe are determined to escape conflict and build brighter futures for their families. Penny Appeal teams are working on the ground in Greece to distribute vital aid direct to refugees arriving by boat.

By attending this day of fitness and sport, not only will you have a lot of fun and go home feeling energised and refreshed, but you will also help aid workers to continue to provide the hot meals, shelter, clothes and hygiene items that refugees desperately need.

For more information or to register for the event, please contact Alycia at malta.amc@gmail.com or phone 07476934749.

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).

ToughBrudders take on Tough Mudder for MAP

On 27 September 2015, Mohammed Khankhara and Haseeb Khan will be running in a Tough Mudder event, to raise funds for the charity Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP). They say:

We will never forget the tragic events of the summer of 2014, when Gaza was relentlessly attacked leaving thousands dead and many more injured, they need our support more than ever not only for basic necessities such as food and clothing but also for medical aid. Many of the hospitals looking after the critically ill are desperately in need of medical experts or life-saving equipment and medicine.

Tough Mudder is a grueling challenge: 10-12 miles of running broken up with obstacles, which will test their grit, determination and teamwork, as well as physical and mental strength. The pair recently completed the National Three Peaks Challenge. The training for Tough Mudder will be more intense: sacrificing early morning lie-ins for 5-mile runs and a 5-7 day a week training regime until a week before the event, come rain or shine.

We are not physically ‘Tough’ people but in training for Tough Mudder, we hope to become stronger people physically and mentally and your donations will be the spark that ignites our motivation to see this through.

Without donations from generous supporters, MAP wouldn’t be able to do the work they do. They work for the health and dignity of Palestinians living under occupation and as refugees. They deliver health and medical care to those worst affected by conflict, occupation and displacement.

Working in partnership with local health providers and hospitals, MAP addresses a wide range of health issues and challenges faced by the Palestinian people. With offices located in Beirut, Ramallah, Jerusalem and Gaza City, MAP responds rapidly in times of crisis, and works directly with communities on longer term health development.

To support Mohammed and Haseeb, visit their fundraising page now.

Pretty Muddy for Cancer Research

A team of 17 Leeds research staff had a marvellously muddy time at Temple Newsam taking part in the Leeds Pretty Muddy for Cancer Research UK. Taking on obstacles including mud pits, climbing frames and slides they had  a great time getting very messy. ‘This was such a great event,’ said Andy Wilson, the Centre’s Engagement Manager. ‘Everyone enjoyed it so much they want to do it again – ideally with even more mud and more obstacles!’  As well as enjoying themselves the team have been busy fundraising for the charity and would love a few more donations, so if you can spare a couple of pounds please visit their JustGiving website.

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

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.