Latest news email updates straight to your inbox
As the Islamic ‘holy’ month of Ramadan draws to a close one mum is celebrating completing 30 days of 10 kilometre runs without any food or drink.
Alfona Sood, 45, from Balsall Heath has run 10K every single day for the entire month of Ramadan all in the name of charity. Taking on the city streets and parks she set out her mission completely alone.
As a full-time civil servant working from home and a mum of three, Alfona has managed to run the family home and complete her runs during the day or night. Despite calf pain, Achilles damage and a swollen knee, she has managed to raise almost £2,000 – still shy of her £5,000 target for families without water in Pakistan.
She said: “Some nights I couldn’t sleep because of the pain – I had to take painkillers. I don’t know how I did it but it was amazing how my body adapted. I wasn’t even thirsty or hungry – I was so surprised.
“I functioned fine throughout the day, I did the school run, the emails, took care of my kids, and took them out to the park. The human body is amazing, it’s mind over matter.”
Starting out a day early before Ramadan, Alfona went an entire 23 hours without food and still managed a test 10K run in preparation for her month ahead. Setting up her Go Fund Me Page she began her challenge to raise money for COPE a volunteer organisation helping families in Pakistan without water or sanitation.
She said: “In the rural areas kids have to travel five or six miles to get fresh clean water. So I thought it’s a great opportunity for Ramadan, it’s a month of giving and it’s a selfless act why not give it a go?
“I needed something to do to keep me focused and sane, it was lockdown and it was a good opportunity to do the run and raise money.”
“I was terrified. The second day was horrendous. I only had four hours of sleep,” she said.
“I work full time and I’ve got three children and a household to run. It was really hard, mentally and physically it was tough. I had days of highs and lows. In my head, I had to do this because I had already signed up with the charity – it was exhausting, tiring, and everything you could possibly think.”
She added: “I had to balance. Some days I took two hours lunch break and did my run then, and sometimes when I finished work in the evening I did my run, then came home running back to prepare the food to start the fast,” she said.
“I just thought about the money I would raise to get a water well and solar panels – they would be settled for life. That was the motivation.”
Running during Ramadan brought its own share of challenges for Alfona not being able to drink a drop of water during her runs.
She said: “Running while fasting is very hard. I would wake up at 2.30am drink loads of water, at least 2 litres, have dates and that kept me going. I wasn’t even hungry. I was amazed that my body adapted after a week.
“You’re taking every step and listening to your body. The worst thing I could do was get injured. So I had to pause for a bit, stretch, take a breath and then keep on running. After seven days I knew what to do to keep it going.”
“The hardest part was to keep the motivation as I was doing it on my own. I didn’t have the support as it’s Ramadan everybody is busy and not many people would want to come out. But after a week I noticed my legs were very sore.
“My calves were very sore, I had to message them every day, roll them and keep them stretching. That kept on going until the last run and even now my calves are still sore. I think my Achilles suffered a lot – around day 27 my knees were swollen.”
Despite being injured, Alfona plans to continue her challenge next year for Ramadan and be joined by other runners across Birmingham.
“Completing it felt amazing. I kind of miss it. I think I’ll start running again after a few days on and off. Next year I might do it again. I think I already have two ladies on board.”
Follow Community Reporter Rakeem Omar Hyatt on social media
Follow Rakeem Omar Hyatt on twitter here
You can read more of his stories here
You can email him on firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also keep up with his stories by liking his facebook page here
Saheli Hub is a small registered charity in Balsall Heath that delivers women-only beginners’ running sessions, and cycling groups. Supporting women to get physically active and manage their long-term conditions they are based in Calthorpe, Handsworth, and Saltley Wellbeing Centres, as well as working within GP surgeries across Yardley Green.
Naseem Akhtar, 53, Project Manager at the organisation said: “We’re very proud of Alfona as she is one of our runners who has run 5 K’s, 10 K’s, half marathons, and marathon with us. We’re really proud of her and want her to reach her target.
“She exemplifies everything that Saheli is about. More importantly, we want people to donate to her amazing fundraising efforts.”
This content was originally published here.