After the huge success of the January Challenge, Stanmore Jafferys launched the March Teams Challenge which ran from 4th-31st March 2021.  The number of ladies that signed up was totally overwhelming and, with less than 48 hours to go to the start of the challenge, the decision was made to double the number of teams from 3 to 6.

The aim of the challenge was simple, walk/run as much or as little as you can/want and earn points for your team with 2 points awarded for 2km and 8 points for 5km. There were a number of bonus point days across the month to mark events such as International Women’s Day (8th March), Mother’s Day (14th March), Khushali Ex-Strava Ganza (3rd, 4th, 5th Sha’baan) and Khushali Ex-Strava Ganza Part 2 (15th Sha’baan).

We would like to thank all participants and team leaders and extend a special thank you to Br. Imran Mamdani and his team for all of their hard work behind the scenes in automating data collection and ensuring all data was accurate and complete.

Click here to check out testimonials and photos of the challenge and view the awards and leaderboards


On of our team leads, Rukayya Muraj, has written up her experience of the challenge:

Samina Govani approached me to ask whether I would head one of the teams. When I received her message, I was really taken aback that my name had been floated as a potential candidate and I had to check with her that it was not a joke! My first instincts were ‘I’ve just started running 4 months ago, I have no real experience, how would I be able to motivate approximately 30 ladies to keep active every day for a month?’

But the challenge itself sounded amazing which is why I had signed up as a participant in the first place. So then I thought ‘OK, let me give it a go!’

From the first day, the hype was electric. We had a zoom call for the entire cohort of participants where the team draw was made, introductions to the core team and heads of each sub team. WhatsApp groups were formed for each team and the first task was to come up with a team name. The ideas coming through were hilarious – pace-makers, speed bumps, ignorance is blisters, blister sisters – to name a few. By popular demand, we settled on ‘Happy Feet’.

We had participants from all over the world! Not only Jamaats within the UK, but also Dubai, North America and East Africa!! Once the word started spreading, each week there were requests from ladies that wanted to join the challenge. By the end of week 4, the grand total was 228 participants! Age was just a number and we had many ladies over 60 taking part.

Everyone had to use Strava to record their exercise. This led to some amusing conversations throughout the duration of the month – phone batteries died mid-walk, smart watches stopped recording, walks were being logged as bike rides. The IT contingent of the core team spent numerous hours sorting out all these issues to ensure that every lady who had made the effort to do their activity was not disheartened by badly-behaved technology.

As we approached the end of week one, the anticipation for the leader board reveal was palpable. Messages were flying on the group as to what time we would find out the results. I had always stressed to my team that for me, the leader board was not my priority. I approached this with the intention of helping people change their mindset about exercise, to help them create new habits that they would carry forward and see the benefits. My strapline through my own experiences was that ‘exercise positively affects the mind, body and soul’. We had ladies that were outwardly competitive and I loved that too – to see the drive and motivation was amazing. We also had ladies who stayed very quiet on the group but were clocking up the KMs regularly – and this was equally as inspirational. I also had lots of 1-2-1 conversations with team members who either wanted to ask questions or update me with their progress and I loved these!

The mutual motivation on the group was something that gave me the greatest pleasure to see. When anyone expressed that they were not feeling like going out, or that they were unwell etc, everyone rallied around to lift their spirits. There were days that I didn’t feel like exercising either, but I would read back through all the conversations and then psyche myself up to get my foot out of the door. This was definitely one of the most rewarding parts of the challenge.

The idea of ‘Strav-Art’ came up in one of the other groups, and all groups decided that it would be fun to try and spell out words using a map planner – during the 3 khushalis at the start of Sha’aban, the numbers 3 and 4 were made, ‘A’ for Abbas, 313 for al Hujjat (atfs) and teams also spelt out their team names.

SJ came up with more ways to motivate the ladies over the course of the 4 weeks. These bonus points days hyped up the group to try and ensure maximum points were achieved.

As March drew to an end, the grand finale via Zoom was planned for Friday 2nd April where the overall results would be revealed, and a host of awards were going to be given out. Each team was to wear a different colour and it was great to see so many ladies log on. It was so evident to see that everyone had had such fun on the challenge – the final results didn’t seem to matter (too much) by this stage!

I am so thankful that I was able to be a part of this challenge. Personally, it gave me achievement, fulfilment and satisfaction for myself and also seeing the progression and results in the ladies in my team. Each one of them has touched my heart. I can’t end without a massive shout-out to Samina, Sabiha and Gulshan – without these 3 ladies working what felt like 24 hours a day to make sure this challenge ran smoothly, it would not have been the success it most definitely was.