Fasting ex-teacher races through Milton Keynes tomorrow in marathon challenge
The former teacher is completing an extreme running challenge this week, whilst also fasting for Ramadan.
British Bangladeshi, Afruz Miah, is in the process of running 313k from London to Oldham to raise money for the Global Relief Trust (GRT).
He's doing this challenge while not eating or drinking between sunrise or sunset, not even taking on water.
He will be running through Milton Keynes tomorrow, April 29.
Speaking to the MK Citizen, over the phone, on his way back from the physio on a rare recovery day, Afruz said the plan was to run into Central Milton Keynes tomorrow.
At this point he isn't sure how many people will be supporting him along the way and where his daily final destination will be. He said: "That's something we'll organise this afternoon, we normally finish at a mosque or by a local business. Everywhere I've ran people have joined me. I've got a support vehicle to look after me and make sure I'm ok, but what's been great has been the amount of people who've got involved.
"We've had support from the Muslim, Christian and Hindu communities, everyone has got involved. On one of my runs, this old lady in her 80s asked what I was doing and when she found out what I was doing she emptied her purse, and gave me everything in it it was £2.50. I love that. Because it's the thought that counts, not the amount.
"I'm confident there'll be at least six people running in Milton Keynes, we've got at least 18 confirmed for Luton, so we'll be split up running in groups of six. Everywhere I've gone there's been great support."
The practising Muslim has raised over £100,000 during the pandemic, eventually deciding to make charity work his full-time job. This decision came after he realised the positive difference he could make through running.
Currently his latest challenge has raised £44,698.66 via his official fundraising page, which can be accessed here. Afruz believes the actual amount raised is nearer £60,000, saying: "We've had all sorts of different donations, people have been posting money to my address and my parent's address.
"As media interest and publicity has picked up, we've had all sorts of offers. People are hearing what I'm doing and letting me stay in their house, offering to cook for me and asking if they can send me trainers.."
Amazingly, Afruz only started running regularly after a health scare forced him to change his lifestyle. A doctor advised the former teacher if he didn't make a drastic change he was likely to suffer a heart attack in the next six months. He added: "The doctor wanted to put me on medication, and I said, 'I don't want to be on medication for the rest of my life', and that's where I got the idea to start running. It's amazing, back in Oldham, and in other parts of the country, like London we've started running groups."
Afruz turned his attention to this gruelling running challenge after delivering humanitarian aid in the Rohingya Refugee camp which caught fire in Cox Bazaar. Seeing this devastation provided even more motivation for the charity worker to raise funds for those most needed around the world. He was also affected by a trip to Burundi, which has been recognised
as the ‘hungriest nation in the world’.
Afruz said: “I want to encourage others to take responsibility for their health and try to make a difference for themselves as well as vulnerable people around the world.
"The maim thing I took from my trip is just how fortunate I am. People in the places I visited had to queue for five hours for the doctor and then they have to pay to get treatment. After my runs I might be hungry and tired for two hours, but that's nothing compared to what other people are going through."
He sighted two recent examples of people putting their bodies on the line to raise money to help others as his inspiration. Captain Sir Tom Moore, who won over the hearts of millions by walking 100 lengths of his garden in aid of NHS charities prior to his 100th birthday.
Another man, Afruz admires is, Dabirul Islam Choudhury, from St Albans, who completed 100 laps of his garden in fundraising efforts, whilst fasting during Ramadan. The money Mr Choudhury raised went to Bangladesh and UK Coronavirus support efforts.
One of Afruz's new aims to raise awareness in the Bangladeshi community, and convince people to get involved in exercise and healthy eating. As people from Bangladeshi backgrounds have high risk of illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension.
Afruz is now on the home straight, he is scheduled to complete his final run in London on the 27th night of Ramadan, The Night of Power, on May 8. He summed up his emotions, adding: "I'm not an athlete so of course I'm aching, but I feel like I'm finding it easier to run, than I do when I'm not fasting, I'm experiencing something quite spiritual.
"The thing that keeps me going is trying to reach that goal and reach £150,000 raised, knowing how much that money would help people."
Money raised by his challenge will be donated to Global Relief Fund, which delivers support, such as food parcels, water projects, medical aid and other self sustaining projects to vulnerable people in eight different countries. To support Afruz and donate to his challenge, you can visit his fundraising page here.