Perinatal Mental Health Is The Focus Of This Year's Ramadan Runs Campaign
Since 2014, Iylia Khan has been doing fasted runs every Ramadan to raise funds for various non-profit organisations (NPOs) as part of his Ramadan Runs campaign. Last year alone, he managed to raise $6,500 for Caregiver's Alliance, a charity that looks out for caregivers whose loved ones are affected by mental health issues.
Here's an impressive stat: the 34 year-old father of two ran a total distance of 168.26km or 17 hours 10 minutes and 36 seconds, all while fasting.
Now that the month of Ramadan is upon us once again (2 April to 2 May this year), Iylia is back, this time to support a cause that is close to his heart: raising awareness of women (and men) who suffer from Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) - distressing feelings such as depression and anxiety that occur during pregnancy (prenatal) and throughout the first year after pregnancy (postpartum).
We caught up with Iylia to find out more about his charity of choice this year, Clarity Singapore, and how he is no longer alone but now has a collective joining him on his fasted runs.
Why have you chosen to support Clarity Singapore this year. Is it a cause that is close to your heart?
Although she wasn't clinically diagnosed, my wife Hannah had signs of postpartum depression after the arrival of our firstborn. She had a difficult breastfeeding journey and did not have the right support network to help her make the right decisions.
We were lucky enough to pull through in the end, but it made me think about mothers who aren't yet able to get the help they need for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs). Therefore, I'd like to raise awareness that Clarity Singapore provides counselling to support women suffering from PMADs.
Ramadan Runs now has more hands (and legs) on deck - congrats! How did you manage to get more people on board to run this campaign?
It started off with me approaching some close friends who also enjoy running, and asking them whether they'd like to use their hobby to do good.
Thankfully, almost everyone I approached was happy to come on board. And although not all are fasting whilst running, they have all resolved to donate within the range of $1 to $5 for every kilometre clocked!
What advice do you have for those who want to exercise while fasting?
Definitely don't push yourself too hard! Start off easy on the first day, and only pick up the intensity once your body's adapted to the changes of exercising whilst fasting.
One thing I'm also focusing on doing now is a good warm-down after each run as it is crucial to reducing lactic acid build-up, so I don't feel as sore the next day!
What are the targets for this year?
I am personally looking at clocking a minimum of 150km for the campaign and donating $3 for every kilometre. Together with the collective, we hope to raise $1,000. As a fundraiser on the Giving.Sg platform, we have set an overall target of $3,000.