The Big Half 2023

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We came, we ran, and we won!

On 3 September 2023, 48 members (gents and ladies) from Stanmore Jafferys completed The Big Half Marathon, the largest attendance our club has ever witnessed at a national running event. This included some seniors, as well as a few ladies over 65!

For over half of our runners, this was their first half marathon. There was a palpable sense of nerve and anxiety going into the event. Will I be able to survive and run the distance? Was my training adequate? What if I can’t do it?

But the event was a reminder that community trumped it all, aptly captured by the tagline of this year’s event #WeRunAsOne.

Many lovely stories and moments were captured of how our members supported, encouraged and motivated each other through the training and on race day itself. Through the streets of London, our runners basked in the upbeat atmosphere and raucous cheers of support to complete the distance in style.

What made this event special was the focus on diversity and inclusivity. As Asians, we do need to work harder when it comes to our health and fitness. And for all the pain every runner puts themselves through, they break down the barriers for greater inclusivity and inspiring a new generation of runners in the sport.

A huge congratulations to all our runners on this significant achievement. We hope your running journey does not end here, but rather is the start for a beautiful journey ahead.


 

Runner Reflections

“This was my first ever half marathon. As the day approached, I started getting very nervous but the team and everyone was there to make sure all was in order. It was a great day and it got really hot, but the aim was to have fun and enjoy it. I had a great time, and would definitely plan another one insha-Allah.”  Sajjad Hameer, first half marathon

 “Being at the start line with most of the SJ runners was a great feeling. And ticking off the miles with 4 encouraging, supportive (and sometimes funny) SJ runners made the time fly by. I was running with our elite SJ runners who could have completed the course in half the time. But such is our team spirit that they stuck it out with me for the entire course, for which I am most grateful. There was an amazing community vibe at the end of the race, and it was lovely to see families come to support their runners. A remarkable positive experience overall and I’m sure to be back for another challenge.” Fazalabbas Fazal, first half marathon

 My reason for running was to raise money for the zawaar in Iraq doing the walk from Najaf to Kerbala for Imam Hussain (as). Every step that was difficult was a reminder it was for Imam Hussain (as). Running on the streets of London was a beautiful distraction, absorbing its distinct buildings, architecture and landmarks. It was truly amazing seeing so many family and friends cheering us on and my family cheering me on and allowing me to be a role model for my girls. It was a triumphant moment to cross the finish line. I felt a sense of achievement Alhamdulillah. I am so grateful to Stanmore Jaffrey’s for the opportunity to achieve something that I didn’t think was possible along with all the advice and tips from Sakina Sidik and the incredible team of ladies of different ages and walks of life. Alhamdulilah extremely grateful for this life changing experience.” Fatima Datoo, first half marathon

“One can easily loose themselves in running. Apart from serving as a massive release of day-to-day, stresses, running is a wonderful sport which allows you to grow and develop your stamina at your own pace and with every new run it’s impossible not to push yourself that little bit more…The Big Half was everything I could’ve imagined and more! The surrealness of running on Tower Bridge amongst 15,000 people sharing the same crazy passion that I did. The breath-taking surroundings accompanied by the wonderful supporters cheering me on made me feel on top of the world. And with less than a mile left, I and others was encouraged by an angel, Sakina whom I had the pleasure of finishing the race with. Falling into her arms at the finish line- A moment that will stay with me forever! And the rest is history…See you all at the next one!” Fatema Kanani Merali, first half marathon

“The supportive, collegial, and inspiring bunch of brothers shone a light on not only the physical benefits of training together but the spiritual and mental benefits too…On the day itself, I had a torrid time with cramping, and I’m indebted to Ariff who ensured I crossed the finish line upright rather than on fours. I’m delighted to have discovered SJ Running and my son seems to have caught the bug too.” Tauseef Mehrali, second half marathon