The 10km run was the perfect representation of what the community at Stanmore is like – it was full of love, joy, sacrifice and determination.

When the event was advertised, I expected only a small group of passionate runners to sign-up, but as the days passed, and the excitement grew, I was astonished to see that the event attracted over 100 participants! The runners were of different ages (ranging from 19 to 79!) and of different abilities – but one thing was for sure, they were all running with the love of Hussain in their heart and the thought of Ali Asghar in their steps.

This was my first time as a marshal at such an event, and I thought it would be extremely complicated. Where was I supposed to stand? What if I pointed runners in the wrong direction? But there was really no need to stress – the running coordinators ensured that the experience was extremely easy for all those who were involved. All the volunteers were invited to a Zoom Call a few days before the event, where we received the full run-down of what needed to be done. We were also sent very clear videos of where we needed to position ourselves on the day.

On the morning of the run, the ground at Hujjat Stanmore was shaking with energy as all the participants, volunteers and spectators began filing in. The coordinators ensured that everyone was comfortable, handing out luminous bands to the marshals and energy-filled snacks to the runners. The participants were then all gathered together and we had a recitation of Ziyarat E Ashura to start the event, followed by speeches by Sabira Juma (a World Federation representative, Gulshan Walji (SJ Vice Chairlady), Nasima Karim (Hujjat’s Chairlady), and ending with a warm up and stretches with Mariam Datoo.

I want to say that the run itself was the highlight of the day – but in all honesty, Samina’s enthusiastic attempt at speaking (what seemed to be) Gujarati in her speech definitely topped everything else.

The marshal experience itself was an incredible. As soon as we reached our checkpoint, we sat down on the grass and admired the beautiful sunny day, expecting to wait a while before the participants passed us. But not before long, the first runner appeared at the end of the road, waving her hands at us and laughing as she ran by. This was the reaction of all of the runners – everyone had beaming smiles on their faces and positivity radiating with every stride, despite 10km not being an easy feat.

Would I sign up as a marshal next time? In all honesty, I wouldn’t – but only because I’ll be signing up as a participant! These ladies have shown me that anybody can participate in a 10km run if you put your mind to it! It inspired me to see that not one runner complained about the length of the run, but rather spoke words of appreciation as they passed, simply acknowledging the power of such an event.

As Marhuma Nishat Dossa (please recite a Surah Fateha for her) put it so perfectly, “The colours are all around us, we just have to look”. Well done to everyone who was involved, a great event for an inspiring cause indeed.

– Saiqa Pirmohamed