The #WhatARunnerLooksLike Wednesday series features everyday women runners and their real thoughts on running, their accomplishments, struggles and bodies. We created this series as a way to help ordinary women runners tell their extraordinary stories. We have been inspired by the stories of other women runners and received much strength to know that we are not alone in our struggles. Some interviews are silly, some are long, some are short, and some are profound. We hope you enjoy, and if you’re interested in sharing your #WhatARunnerLooksLike story with us or know someone in your running circles that has an inspiring story to share, simply use this online form to submit your story.
This week’s #WhatARunnerLooksLike Wednesday feature is Rahaf from @runlikeahijabi.
Women’s Running Community (WRC): What Made You Take Up Running?
Rahaf (R): I was, am, a stay at home mom with three young kids. I was frustrated, lonely, and needed a outlet to be alone for couple hours a day. Oddly enough, I didn’t start working out to loose weight and look great, though that did come with the territory, running gave me so much more.
WRC: What Do You Love About Your Body?
R: It’s More so about the confidence, self esteem, better mental image of myself. I gained running friends, and somewhere along the way, an epic, groundbreaking, magazine cover.
WRC: How Has Running Helped You Appreciate Your Body?
R: It helped me show my kids anything is possible. It helped me show them this is what mommy can do by running marathons. They look up to me and though I don’t have a fancy career, I have so much more to show them in terms of my accomplishments I have done for my Hijabi Muslim American Community.
WRC: How Has Running Helped You Physically, Mentally, Emotionally, and/or
Generally In Your Life?
R: It helped me smash stereotypes and break barriers about people who look like me. Sometimes I find myself to be the only hijabi at races, and I often get stared at because I look and dress differently. Being out there running marathons has given me confidence I need to dispel such stereotypes all while running marathons.
WRC: What Do You Think About When You’re Running?
R: I think about God, my kids. I shut out the world and it’s just me and the road. No one else. My music helps shut out everyone else when I need alone time.
WRC: What Do You Love Most About Running?
R: The opportunities I had that I would’ve NEVER had otherwise. Like being sponsored by Hylands Health to run Boston Marathon 2017 and raising 16k for refugees.
WRC: What’s Your Favorite Part Of Being A Runner?
R: Crossing finish lines. The medals. The running community. Everybody belongs no matter what you believe in, who you are, what pace you run. It doesn’t matter. Because we’re all crossing the same finish lines in the end.
WRC: How Do You Stay Motivated When You Don’t Want To Run?
R: I think of my kids. I think of my accomplishments. I think of the goals I have yet to achieve and know that I better get up or it’s never going to get done on its own!
WRC: Most Memorable Race Or Running Accomplishment?
R: That would be my first race in April 2012 in my hometown, Dearborn, MI. It was a 10k and though I wasn’t “fast” per say, I felt like a winner crossing my first finish line ever!! Addicted ever since! My first marathon was Detroit free press in October 2014. That too was very memorable, a feat I once dreamed about that had come true having never been a runner prior. It was an amazing feeling knowing I had joined that 1% club!
WRC: What Is Your Best Tip Or Advice For A Newbie Runner?
R: I say take it slow. Do your strength training twice a week. Cross train if need be. Don’t compare yourself to other establish runners. Just do you.
WRC: What’s Your Favorite Affirmation?
R: You Are Strong!