Cardiff Half Marathon

Mwslima Run Club Thrives!

As we gear up for the return of the 2023 Principality Cardiff Half, we’re sharing the stories of inspiring runners taking part, many of whom have picked up life-affirming healthy habits as a result. Cardiff’s Hibak Musa can’t wait to be a part of the Principality Cardiff Half Marathon.

Having helped set up Wales’ first-ever running club for Muslim women, Hibak Musa is hoping that crossing the finish line will inspire more women to take up running:

“We’ve found that some Muslim women can feel intimidated running by themselves or as part of a traditional mixed run club.”

And that’s why Hibak – along with Lena, Bea, Layla and Hana – decided to do something about it. And the Mwslima Run Club was born.

“We wanted to create a safe space where like-minded women who share similar beliefs and values can run, in a comfortable and nurturing space.

“Muslim women come knowing that no explanation is needed for how they choose to dress, and they come trusting that their modesty is respected and protected in this space. This means that we see Muslim women coming in their hijab (headscarf), in their jilbabs and abayas (long skirts/dresses) as well as women who attend in activewear. As a Muslim-run club, we also prioritise Salah (prayer) above all things and that’s why we offer flexibility with our run club timings, ensuring women can be home in time for daily prayers”.

It started five months ago and word has spread fast across Cardiff. Now, Hibak says more than 115 Muslim women have joined their club, and the group sees high turnouts for its sessions which take place in different parts of Cardiff each week

“It’s forever growing, we see new faces every week as well as our very regular participants. We have reached out to student groups and local mosques, and we’ve shared posters in shops around Cardiff. Word of mouth has also led to more women joining. We started with just one run a week but due to growth and demand, we’ve increased that significantly.

“It’s a non-judgmental environment – the idea is that you can walk, jog or run but our main goal is that members come and commit to improving their fitness. We do this by holding each other accountable and doing weekly check-ins to see each other’s progress”.

And Hibak says she feels it was important to sign up for the Cardiff Half this year:

“There are three of us from the club running and it feels very empowering as a Muslim woman to take part. Some of the girls are coming to cheer me on but I’ve told them that I want at least ten of them running alongside me next year!

“I think it’s also important in terms of representation. The Cardiff Half Marathon showcases what is so brilliant about our city so it’s important we are part of that to show that Cardiff is diverse and inclusive, especially as we are home to one of the UK’s oldest, most established Muslim communities.

Hibak and the team now have big plans to extend the Mwslima Run Club to other cities and towns across Wales since the demand has become so high.

They have also approached Run 4 Wales’ charitable foundation for funding. Run 4 Wales is a not-for-profit which ploughs any surpluses back into community projects. Matt Newman, Run 4 Wales CEO, says:

“We’re thrilled to be able to help Hibak and the Mwslima Run Clun get up and running. A key objective of our charitable foundation is to transform participation across our portfolio of events so that they are more inclusive and reflective of Wales’ ethnic diversity.

“The 20th anniversary of the Principality Cardiff Half Marathon is a real celebration of the diversity and inclusion of running in Wales and we look forward to welcoming Hibak to the start-line.”

To get involved and stay updated with all events organised by Mwslima Run Club give them a follow on Instagram @mwslimarunclub

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