How and when did you get into running?
In 2013, I started volunteering for a residential home for the blind, SeeAbility. As I spent time with the residents, taking them out for bike rides and reading to them, I learned of a fundraising opportunity via the London Marathon. I was not a runner, nor did I know what a marathon was, but I signed up! Needless to say, while my heart was in a good place, I was utterly unprepared. I crawled past that finish line vowing to never run again.
In 2016, I joined a local running club and started a Couch to 5K plan. Running gave me the space to process my thoughts and gain perspective. I returned to the London Marathon in 2017, and I’m proud to say that I not only smashed my goals, but I gained a new passion in life: to empower others through sport!
I invited a group of cousins to train for a 5K, and, within 10 weeks, all 11 of them raced their first 5K! Many went on to run 10Ks and Halfs! I became a Run Leader for my club, Crawley Run Crew and I later qualified as a Run Coach with England Athletics. I also created a ladies-only boot camp class, specifically for Muslim women, to give them a safe space to participate in sports.
What's the best bit of running advice you have ever been given?
To run by feel. Life is full of enough pressures and responsibilities so I run for the LOVE of running and if I hit a PB along the way, then great!
What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning and pull on your trainers?
I’ve been running for seven years now and it’s been the most liberating and life-changing experience for me. Reminding myself of the positive impact exercise has on my mind and body encourages me to lace up and get outdoors.
What gadget or piece of kit can you not run without and why?
My Bose Sport Earbuds! Your girl needs her 90s R&B, hip-hop and pop tunes. Running just feels so much easier and more enjoyable with music.
Run us through a typical weekend in your household?
My life is usually 100mph but when I am home for the weekend and not travelling it’s pretty homely and relaxed.
In May 2020, during the global pandemic, I co-founded the Sudhan Welfare Society CIC (SWS) to tackle inequalities in activity levels in the South Asian community in West Sussex. For the last couple of years, to fit in all my other responsibilities outside of my career, I started working compressed hours so fortunately have a three day weekend kicking off on Fridays.
Fridays are dedicated to SWS admin, it’s usually my rest day too so it works well. I spend the day networking, in meetings, completing grant proposals, reporting, planning logistics or seeking new opportunities - all the boring stuff behind the scenes to get projects off the ground. I usually take a break around lunch time to pray Friday prayers (jummah) at my local mosque.
Saturdays I always start my day with CrossFit (I am HOOKED) followed by leading the CRC and SWS walking programme through Tilgate Park. They are definitely my favourite group to coach!
Sundays start with an early morning 10 mile run with friends from run club and then the rest of the day I spend grocery shopping, deep cleaning the house (my favourite pass time) or hanging out with my nieces and nephews.
Somewhere in between I’ll catch up with my cousins and have some me time to read a book or catch up on Netflix.
Where do you see your self in 10 years time?
Still running! Hopefully on my way to collecting all six stars for the Abbot World Marathon Majors! I’d also love to see SWS grow beyond West Sussex, it’s insanely rewarding helping others and one of my biggest dreams is to have projects across the country.
Quick Fire Questions:
Tea of coffee? Neither! I don’t drink caffeine. Peppermint tea or milk with ginger, turmeric, clove, a pinch of black pepper and teaspoon of honey are my go-to hot drinks!
Pizza or Pasta?
Pizza! All day, everyday.
Dog or cat?
Cats! My sister bought a gorgeous munchkin cat (half Scottish Fold) during lockdown, Pinocchio and he comes to visit often (he’s here now for a month while she’s travelling). Absolute babe but has Voldemort tendencies!
10,000m race or 5k?
Hills or flat?
Flat. I don’t do hills.
Night owl or morning lark?
Mornings! For someone who has never been a morning person, I’ve been thriving in the mornings lately! The days seem longer and I find I’m naturally more productive.
The Hangover. Alan played by Zach Galifianakis is my hero! “It’s not a man purse. It’s called a satchel. Indiana Jones wears one.” Has me in stitches every single time.
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