Running the Fun Run Remotely from Birmingham
07 / 09 / 21
06 / 09 / 21
By Raahim Zafar
Not just an Interfaith Fun Run – but an international one!
On Monday 30th August, hundreds of runners and their friends and family gathered at StoneX Stadium in London for the city’s first ever Interfaith Fun Run, but they were not alone. Joining from other parts of the UK and even 6000 miles away in Hyderabad, India were runners and walkers completing their courses remotely in solidarity with the Fun Run’s mission to bring together communities and build a connected society.
A heart-warming moment came in the 5K where Claire, 58, heard the voice of one of the women from Muslimah Sports Association, a charity supporting creating pathways for Muslim and BAME women in sports. She called out to Claire “we’ll run together with you” and they completed the course together in true community spirit.
Not only did our runners collectively run hundreds of kilometres for their chosen charities, but we were treated to five special performances at lunch time to take us through the spiritual gears with music originating from across the world’s continents.
Sir Kenneth Olisa, the Queen’s representative in London, was ceremoniously marched in by the Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Pipe Band, a Scottish Hindu Pipe Band that traverses the traditions of two rich cultures. We were then transported to an otherworldly realm of tranquillity by MTO Shahmaghsoudi, a Sufi Zikr Group, Shumei UK‘s performance brought us a taste of Japanese culture, before we ended with an elating performance from the London International Gospel Choir energising the 100 people preparing to run their 1K.
Food is a key component of any human relationship, so we were delighted to have food from across the world served to our equally diverse attendees. Lebanese, Afro-Portuguese, and North Indian cuisines were the delicacies of the day. Families and runners alike frequented the food court sharing laughter and good food as they celebrated Londoners coming together to build the foundations of an event that will become a regular part of the city’s cultural calendar.
Beyond the relationships strengthened over food, The Faith & Belief Forum also ran an Interfaith Zone, running some of our signature activities that give people of all ages the opportunity to dive into their identities, share what matters to them, and learn about the beliefs and lives of others. Among other activities in the tent was the classic “Hats of Faith” which is designed particularly with younger participants in mind and allows them to explore the shared traditions of head coverings across different faiths and cultures and learn about how so many of us often share so many practices without even knowing.
One of the highlights of the Fun Run was a buzzing charity fair with 25+ of the partner charities present at their stalls, meeting and greeting local Londoners, and connecting with fellow organisations working across the city.
Despite a year of lockdown restrictions the charities have not been sitting idle, rather for many this challenging period has made their work more important than ever before supporting the vulnerable and building communities in a time where we were all stuck in our homes. We were delighted to see so many charities jump at the chance to be part of this pioneering project in London and no doubt the connections and relationships that began this summer bank holiday will continue to grow and bloom into partnerships that further the already excellent and pivotal work being undertaken in London and beyond.
Overall the day was a huge success after a long year of lockdown and F&BF is looking forward to preparing for an even bigger Interfaith Fun Run in 2022.
07 / 09 / 21
19 / 08 / 21