London Landmarks Half Marathon: The Build Up

By Burayha Lalji 

With race day fast-approaching, we pile on more distance each week during training in preparation. With 2 weeks to go, we achieved a tremendous milestone of 12 miles (the half marathon is 13.1 miles), our final long run before the big day!

I started training with Sakina Sidik during the month of Ramadhan where we’d run once a week together. As we were fasting, we kept it simple but decided to get started nonetheless. I was struggling a bit with motivation during the month as I know many others were, but Sakina was really great company and full of energy. If anyone is feeling that way, I would really recommend attending the runs with SJ Running that take place during the week. It was actually then where I ran my first ever 5k!

I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on the progress made over the past 3 months. I think it’s so easy to overlook this, therefore a conscious effort needs to be made sometimes!


– I ran my first ever 5k

– I ran my first ever 10k

– I ran up to 19km (12 miles)

– I have managed to be consistent with my running and haven’t missed a week!

– Punctuality – Sakina knows that if we’d want to meet at 7:30, she’d need to tell me to get there for 7:15. I arrive before her know so I hope she’s impressed!

The 12-mile run was mentally testing, to make matters more challenging, it was really a hot and humid day. We had 3 miles to go and I hit a wall. I felt that I had given all I had to give. I would like to thank Kayla and Tara who helped me get through the final stretch. They supported me to keep going and I was so pleased to have made it to the end, even if we had to reduce the run:walk ratio. I’m so grateful to have had them there.

The run strategically ended near SimSim bakery where we had breakfast. It was a well-deserved reward after stretching ourselves both physically and mentally, and as Tara said, that diet Coke ‘really hit the spot’.

The SJ Running coordinators later held a session on Zoom to talk about the race day, training and nutrition. It will be the first half marathon for us all and we seemed to have the same anxieties and ‘what-ifs’ which were quite comforting to share. It’s so nice to be doing this as a group, everyone is so helpful with sharing what has worked for them and our WhatsApp group is filled with positive encouragement.

“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Ultimately, we are running the half marathon to support and fundraise for the #GIVE campaign. The funds raised will help pay for life-saving heart surgeries of impoverished children in Iraq and India suffering from congenital heart defects. A really great cause and the drive that will get us through to the finish line Insha’Allah.

Click below to read about how the day went

LLHM: Charting New Waters