On Sunday, 20 November, over 50 members and supporters of Stanmore Jafferys running fraternity came together at Hujjat for the running club’s inaugural dinner and awards evening.
This was an opportunity to reflect and celebrate on an entity that barely existed over 2.5 years ago. Often recognised as one of the toughest sports to take up, ladened with misconceptions and myths, SJ Running has trail blazed its way in making running more accessible and appealing for its members.
Ably hosted by Ariff Sidik (SJ Running Coordinator), the group started off the evening with a warmup routine by Ashiqali Damani and heard from Assad Abdulla (on behalf of The KSIMC of London), Nadim Kapadia (Head of SJ Running) and Shaneabbas Merali (Head of Gents Sports and a Trustee of SJ) as well as fellow SJ runners Arif Chandoo, Mustafa Muraj, Hassan Pirbhai and Murtaza Pirani, as part of a reflective panel discussion.
Each shared their individual story, unique in its own beautiful way but laced with reflections of personal struggle and endeavour. It was a reminder that the path to accomplishment is never easy. And while each one was a significant personal accomplishment, they were also community accomplishments and achievements. The underlying thread across these stories was the unwavering community support provided through the club, with one panellist summing it up by stating “the club has truly saved lives.”
The ethos of SJ running has always been about bringing a community together and uplifting health and wellness through the love for running. Everyone is welcomed in this club, and no one is ever left behind, we run together as one community. As shared in one of the speeches that evening “if you want to run fast, run by yourself, but if you want to run far, run together.”
In so many ways, running is a metaphor for life. No two runs are ever the same, there are ups and downs, highs and lows, just like the journey of life. However, by showing up, staying consistent and putting in the work, small changes can lead to bigger transformations, as reflected by so many runners within the SJ community.
Thank you to The KSIMC of London for hosting us on home ground. Thank you to the Hubb for the amazing dinner. Thank you to our partners at WF-Aid, SP Vinshaw and Leafy Lettings for your support.
A special thank you for our core running team (Akil, Ariff, Kayam and Nadim) for all your commitment, hardwork and sacrifices in keeping the club moving and supporting our runners along the way.
And finally to our community of runners, thank you for your unwavering support and collaboration. While we were only able to give out a selected number of awards, it’s safe to say it was an evening where everyone was a winner! Well done SJ runners!
A full recording of the evening can be found here.
SJ Running Award Recipients (2022)
SJ New Runner of the Year: Mazaheer Rajwani
“Mazaheer has been an absolute inspiration to the SJ running community. As a new runner, he pushed himself and took on the challenge to train for his first half marathon with the community as part of the AAWA Sportive. He showed dedication in working on his training plan and joined several of the long SJ training runs and Alhamdulillah, completed the half marathon with flying colours. One admirable quality about Mazaheer is the way he encourages his family, through actions and words, to join him in running and adopting a healthy lifestyle. A true role model and a reminder of the positive influence sports can have on the family and community.”
SJ Runner of the Year: Imtiaz Hasham
“Imtiaz took up running during the lockdown in April 2020. His transformational journey since then has been nothing short of an inspiration. Over the course of the year to date, he covered a staggering 1548 km, the rough distance between London and Gothenberg in Sweden, or the distance between London and Birmingham 4-fold! To date, he has completed a total of 161 runs this year, which translates to a run every other day! In September 2022, as part of his London Marathon training, he clocked a 10km PB in 53:31, which roughly translates to an average pace of 5:23 min/km – just over 2 years ago when he started running, he reported an average pace at 9-10 min/km! Imtiaz’s consistency has been excellent and his commitment to running, second to none. Even though he stays out of London, he has been a firm supporter of the club and does his best to join club activities.”
SJ Member of Year: Ali Momin
“This is an award voted for by the members. And it was unanimous that Ali, the co-founder and former Head of SJ Running, was the deserving recipient of the SJ Member of the Year. His contributions to the club can be summed by in three words: Service, Inclusion and Dedication. Many have noted his positive attitude and willingness to always lend a listening ear and provide advice and support on their running journey. It is suffice to say Ali’s influence and impact on the SJ Running community has been extensive. Today, he has helped establish not just a running club but nurtured a well-knitted and dedicated community of runners from all walks and backgrounds, and one that we believe will continue to grow and strengthen with time.”
SJ Outstanding Service Award: Ariff Sidik and Ali Momin (Founding Members of SJ Running)
“There is a beautiful concept in our faith called Khidmah or service. This award is exactly about that. Amidst the many stereotypes and challenges associated with establishing a running club in the community, Ali and Ariff bravely took up this challenge. They recognised that there was an emerging need for more dedicated support and motivation in running from within the community as well as a realisation that fostering running could have massive benefits for the health of the community. Over the years, they have served the community of SJ runners with humility, dedication and hardwork. It would be no exaggeration to say most if not all members of the club have benefited from their wise counsel, support and encouragement. In serving, they have gone beyond their way to support, build and nurture the SJ community of runners. A special award for two very special people.”