Completing a marathon during Ramadan!

Update! Zak's story of running the marathon while fasting all through training.

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This week, we caught up with Zak Hussain to ask him about his experience running the Manchester marathon during Ramadan. We previously discussed how his training was going alongside the fasting obligations. As the Eid celebrations begin, we applaud his success in finishing the marathon in just over 3 hours and 30 minutes and raising over £3,000 for cancer research!

Zak, congratulations! First of all, tell us about your experience of running the marathon.

“It wasn’t easy! It had gone almost as planned but I got a really bad cramp at 18 miles, I didn’t think I was going to finish. I had to stop twice to rub out the muscle, and I still managed to finish in a pretty good time!

I think I should have drunk more water before the race, or taken something like a gel on the way there. The cramp was the worst feeling ever, you can’t do anything about it, or prepare for it. The sensation is as your muscles freezes up and you might pull it at any time!

The second time I stopped, I couldn’t find a nutritional gel anywhere, I was looking around for it and realised I was losing time so I just decided to run the last six or seven miles without it!”


“Ramadan is about working on yourself for a month, try to challenge yourself!”


Insane! What kept you running after pausing?

“When I paused running to sort it out, I looked around me. Several people started overtaking me. I’m quite a competitive person but I realised it doesn’t really matter if I don’t finish before everyone else, or on a perfect time.

I remembered all the support from my family and friends. I thought that’s why I have to cross the finish line because everyone is there waiting!

Even if the finishing time bothers me a little bit, I know I wouldn’t be content no matter what it was so I’m just glad it’s over and my family saw me do it.”


Did you feel any effects from fasting on the day of the race?

“Well I had prepared for 9 weeks before with two of those weeks falling during Ramadan. I was pretty ready. But I broke my fast that day because I traveled to a different city. I tried to follow it as much as possible though, I didn’t take too much and still ran the race without water!”


“The fasting is the trickiest part, not even a sip of water! Just a small nutritional gel to keep me going!”


It’s unbelievable when I think that you did that, would you do it again?

“No! Definitely not… I have this marathon bug about me though, I want to run all the major cities’ ones like Boston, Tokyo… It’s so hard. I can’t imagine doing it at the moment!”


It’s been a few days since the end of the race, how are you feeling in general?

“Well I can finally walk normally. My legs were gone for a day, but they’re feeling normal again. I’m just glad I’m not running too much anymore, it’s been 3 days since I’ve been to the gym. I’m keeping myself away from it for the minute!

I think from now on… I’ll just exercise for fun. I’ve reached that point, I don’t really have anything to prove, I just want to stay fit.”

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