The Inspiring Running Niqabi From Durban

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Zaheda finished strong in her Half Marathon in Durban few weeks ago ?

Zaheda is one of the running sisters from Durban, South Africa who joined Nashata Virtual Run For Charity in March edition to support Baitul Aman Children Center in South Africa. Zaheda is 43 years old and a mother of 3. She runs in veil and in March and she collects the highest mileage among all which is 170km. Here are a few sharing about her passion in running in Q&A:

1. Q: When did Zaheda start running?

A : Fitness has always been a big part of my life from a young age but I only started running in my final year at school. I went to a school where athletics played a major role, but I never participated. In my final year, I felt like I wanted to finish knowing that I at least tried. I finished second last but I was bitten. Starting off was very difficult for me, I felt like I couldn’t breathe and I almost gave up but I didn’t. Everyday, I’d go back to it until slowly I started getting better and better at it and I was doing longer distances each time. I became hooked as I was happiest when I was out there. In terms of speed and pace I’m pretty slow but I’m working on it.

2. Q: How frequent does Zaheda run?

A: I aim for 25KM a week but this year, I’m quite busy so sometimes I was only running on my treadmill, 3 to 5km, 4 or 5 times per week. On a week day, I limit my running time to an hour.

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These are some of the recorded mileage collection for Nashata Virtual Run for Charity South Africa,..she manage to collect 170km in March 😉

3.Q : When and where does Zaheda run?

A: I run early in the mornings. I live in the area which is very near to the beach, so I always run along the beach on the promenade. I am a mum of 3, my kids are independent and grown up but I  try to run at time that doesn’t affect my family life. When I get back from my run, they are getting up and I’m there to prepare their breakfasts and school lunches and see them off to school.

Zaheda runs very early in the morning

4.Q : What motivates Zaheda to run?

A : My sister, Zainab run much faster, very disciplined and she is incredibly amazing and I draw my inspiration from her. We run together every Sunday and we always encourage each other to keep improve ourselves. Other than that. I have always found that running helps me get back in shape and I feel good when I’m running consistently. Unfortunately, life sometimes doesn’t allow you to do as you please always. That been said, I am also finding my time for it with proper time management and discipline you can always make it work; this is what my sister, Zainab taught me.

Note : Zainab runs at Nashata Virtual Run for Charity too and she runs FAST!

5. Q : How is Zaheda’s diet like?

A : As far as my diet, I’m not the most disciplined but I’m training myself to control my indulgences as well as my portions. What you eat really affects the way you run. Don’t take fizzy drinks, even the sugar free variety. I don’t really take supplements except my calcium supplement, so I try to eat healthy food and keep well hydrated. I also can only run on a empty stomach, if I eat before run I will feel lethargic. But, yes everyone is different, this works for me.

6. Q : How running change Zaheda’s life?

A : Running has had huge impact on my life. It helps me deal with the stress in life. I am healthier, fitter and I find that I don’t get sick often, Alhamdulillah. It is good for your body and mental well being. I often joke with my friends that I’m addicted to the endorphins and need to get my fix daily.

7. Q : What does Zaheda wear when she runs?

A: Initially I ran in an abaya but after a few near falls, I started customizing my gear and now I’ve discovered Nashata whose range I’m totally in love with. I now have the freedom of doing what I love, looking good and modest all at the same time.

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8. Q : How did Zaheda discover Nashata? 

A : I discovered Nashata by chance really, I searched Islamic Sportswear and it came up. Then, I followed them on Facebook. Eliza is very professional and it was absolute pleasure purchasing from her.

9. Q : What is Zaheda’s advice to other novice runners?

A :  My advice is please don’t give up. It is difficult at first but it gets easier and enjoyable. Listen to your body, rest when you feel like it and don’t feel guilty. I adorn the niqaab or face veil, I’m wearing it for 5 years now, Alhamdulillah. Initially I thought I’d never run again as I had never seen a niqaabi run. I used to do strength training with a personal trainer and we found that I was getting really strong but not really loosing weight and she suggested I start running again and for a while I found excuses, silly ones, what would people say, what would I wear until finally she pushed me so hard that I was out of excuses. Things that I learnt are don’t give up on your dreams, the only thing holding you back is YOURSELF. There is certain kind of magic in misery, ask any runners out there.

InsyaAllah, may all women out there will be inspired by Zaheda, the running Niqaabi 😉

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