It was the perfect day for a run.
Summer had come to an end so the heatwave was over, but the sun still shined down on us as we made our way through Victoria Park. With children squealing and families rallying around to cheer on their loved ones, I couldn’t help but feel like I was part of something special.
It was special! Hundreds of people were taking part in The Muslim Charity Run. I’d decided to as well, so I could raise money for the 200 families supported by HHUGS.
It was my first ever fun run, so I didn’t really know what to expect. All I knew was that we’d be running a total of 5KM through Tower Hamlets’ Victoria Park, alongside canals and unsuspecting passers-by.
I’m not an athlete!
Once I’d collected my t-shirt, number, and barcode (so I could find out my time after finishing the race), the nerves suddenly kicked in. There were so many thoughts running through my mind!
‘Will I be able to do this?’
‘Can I manage a 5KM run?’
‘I’m not an athlete!’
‘Why did I think I could do this?’
I took a deep breath and looked around at all the excited brothers beside me. Instantly, I felt a rush of motivation: ‘Well, I’m here’, I thought to myself. ‘I have to do it now!’
Eyes on the Prize
As soon as the blare horn sounded, I was off! I focussed on putting one foot in front of the other and keeping a steady pace so I wouldn’t get tired too quickly.
There was a great sense of camaraderie as we encouraged each other to keep going. I was taking pictures as men ran by, and they cheered me on to help me stay motivated.
We laughed and bantered though secretly each of us really wanted to come first! We were in it to win it – especially since the fastest runners would be given a prize!
A bit of healthy competition is always a good thing, but my biggest motivation was the knowledge that I was doing this for a local charity that does wonderful work. It was a pleasure to run for HHUGS, and I felt content knowing that every footstep counted as an act of charity.
A Different Kind of Devastation
When I was fundraising, I was a little worried because I hadn’t raised funds for HHUGS before. It’s fairly straightforward to raise money for causes like Syria. Everybody is aware of the war and bloodshed so, naturally, they’re eager to help.
But when it comes to HHUGS’ work, people don’t really know what the situation is. They don’t understand that families who have been affected by terror laws are usually in desperate need of help. They’re faced with impossible situations where their savings are frozen and benefits are denied, so they’re in debt, unable to pay their bills, with no money for food.
The situation these families are in is different to the kind of devastation we’re used to hearing about, but it’s devastation all the same. It’s so important we continue to support them, because they have no one else to help them. I can’t help but wonder how we find ourselves giving to every other cause while we neglect our own neighbours! Of course, we should support people abroad, but we should also make an effort to help families right here in the UK.
There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll be doing The Muslim Charity Run in 2019 – only next time, I’ll get all my family and friends to take part so they can raise money for HHUGS too!
You can still donate to my fundraising page here: https://www.muslimgiving.org/ibrahimrace4jannah
If you’d like to take part in a fundraising activity to raise money for the vulnerable families that HHUGS supports, go to www.hhugs.org.uk
Mohammed Ibrahim Hussain