Running For Good: This Guy Does Fasted Runs During Ramadan For Charity
The month of Ramadan (13 April to 12 May this year) is a time when Muslims not only fast, but are encouraged to perform acts of charity.
For 33 year-old Iylia Khan, it is a chance to give back to the community through his love of running. Since 2014, Iylia has been performing fasted runs every day of Ramadan to raise funds for various non-profit organisations (NPOs) such as Darul Ihsan Orphanages and the Children’s Aid Society.
What makes it even more amazing is that Iylia does most of his runs during the day while he's abstaining from food and drink. Through his campaign, which he dubs "Ramadan Runs", Iylia has raised more than $10k over six installations so far.
This year, the NPO that Iylia is working with is Caregiver Alliance Limited which meets the needs of caregivers whose loved ones are affected by mental health issues.
We caught up with the marketing professional to ask about his training regimen and what drives him to pursue this inspiring endeavour.
What was the inspiration behind Ramadan Runs?
The inspiration behind starting Ramadan Runs was about making a personal commitment to raise money for a good cause through an activity that I love.
Since you started Ramadan Runs, you’ve raised over $10k to help Darul Ihsan Orphanages and the Children’s Aid Society - a real inspiration to us! Who inspires you?
Thank you for the kind words. Someone who inspires me is Artiwara Kongmalai (above, left), a Thai singer who ran across Thailand over a 2-month period to raise money for Thai public hospitals.
How far do you run or aim to run every day? Do you have an overall distance target?
For this year I haven't really set specific targets on how far to run, or aim to run each day. However, I'm currently averaging about 5km per run so I'll probably look to maintain that for the rest of the campaign.
Likewise, no overall distance target for this year, but in 2019 I did set a target of covering 200km for the month - which I barely scraped through in the end!
What are your tips on doing a safe fasted run?
Don't push too hard when running! I also wouldn't advise running while fasting if you haven't been actively running before Ramadan. That aside, I try and stay as hydrated as I can when I'm not fasting, and also consume plenty of dates for energy as they are packed full of calories.
Going through NS also definitely raised my fitness levels, and I'm thankful that my love for running has allowed me to keep fit and undertake Ramadan Runs year on year.
Tell us more about the charity you chose to raise funds for this year, and share with us your experience in helping other organisations.
I chose Caregivers Alliance Limited because caregivers are a very invisible group of heroes who need all the support they can get, to not only understand the mental condition their loved ones are going through, but also achieve mental wellness for themselves so they can be in the best position to care for their loved ones.
My experience with helping other organisations like Darul Ihsan has almost always revolved completely around Ramadan Runs. The only other way I've helped out has been through fundraising with friends and family - to purchase and deliver necessities for the orphanages based on their donation in-kind wishlist.
In this respect, I think it's great to be able to contribute items that the orphanages need specifically, rather than just raising money for the organisation as I wouldn't know exactly how the money is going to be spent.
How can we donate to the cause and what do you hope to inspire in others through these runs?
With Ramadan Runs, I hope to inspire in others the ability to empathise with those who are less fortunate than we are, and to seize the opportunity to do as much good as we can for others - within our capacities.