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Monday, January 17, 2022

Ex-Bradford cop raises £1400 for Cancer Research in Great North Run

Fiz Ahmed QPM has raised triple the amount of her original goal for the half marathon and is now thinking of plans of how to get more Bradford women to run in the next one.

Retired Bradford and Leeds police officer Fiz Ahmed QPM has raised more than £1400 for Cancer Research in the Great North Run half marathon.

Mrs Ahmed took part in the world’s largest half marathon yesterday with around 57,000 people taking part. She completed the 13.1 mile-long race in 2 hours and 26 minutes, working out at around 10.56 minutes per mile.

Talking about the event, Mrs Ahmed said: “The race was absolutely amazing. I was so nervous and anxious at the beginning, but it was incredible.

Fiz Ahmed took part in the Great North Run on behalf of Steph’s Packed Lunch for Cancer Research.

“The race wasn’t about the Coronavirus but after almost two years indoors it was quite mind-blowing to see this many people taking part and supporting different people and charities.”

The Great North Run celebrated its 40th anniversary over the weekend, created by British former long-distance runner Brendan Forster OBE.

The first Great North Run was staged on 28 June 1981 with 12,000 participants. By 2011, the number of runners had risen to 54,000. Due to the global pandemic, the marathon was cancelled last year but was back with a new route and safety precautions this year.

The Great North Run usually starts in Newcastle down to South Shields, but this year’s marathon started and finished in Newcastle city centre, crossing the Tyne bridge twice.

Mrs Ahmed said it was the crowd that speared her on and made her run faster. The mum-of-three, said: “The crowd gives you a push. When I was on the 12th mile and found it quite difficult it was the crowd that cheered me on and kept me going.

“When I was looking around, I barely saw anyone like me, I think I counted around 10 other South Asian women.”

“I was wearing a cape with Steph’s Packed Lunch on, so I think a lot of people recognised me from the show and encouraged me.”

Mrs Ahmed has always loved the outdoors and being sporty.

Mrs Ahmed ran the race for Cancer Research, a charity she holds close to her heart after being in remission from breast cancer. Mrs Ahmed was diagnosed with the disease in 2015 and took a few months off her job as a police officer to recover. In 2020 she retired from her thirty-year career and received a Queen’s Police Medal (QPM) for her contribution to the services in 2019.

Since then, she has gone on to work in Bradford’s Khidmat Centres as a lead project worker in the Muslim Women in Prison initiative, as well as being a regular castmate on Channel 4’s daily lunchtime talk show, Steph’s Packed Lunch, with ex-BBC presenter Steph McGovern.

Mrs Ahmed’s husband and her teenage daughters were at the finish line to embrace their half-marathon runner wife and mum. With long-distance runners often feeling achy the day after their big race, Mrs Ahmed says she is in no pain and is feeling okay. She said: “I’ve done long runs before and the thing that helps me the most to not feel any discomfort is swimming. After I came home from Newcastle yesterday and settled down for a bit, I went to the local swimming pool and did 32 lengths to calm my body down. To be honest, I am still buzzing off yesterday’s energy.”

Mrs Ahmed ran the race in 2 hours and 26 minutes.

Noticing a lack of representation in participants in the half marathon, Mrs Ahmed is thinking of ways of getting more women like her, South Asian and from Bradford, into the Great North Run in the future. She said: “When you are running in a race, you always look around you and see who is running and for what charities. When I was looking around, I barely saw anyone like me, I think I counted around 10 other South Asian women.

“I am still thinking about the logistics, but it would be great if we could get a full coach full of women up to Newcastle to take part in the half marathon, either quick walking, running or both.”

It is important to Mrs Ahmed to show that Bradford women are fit and active and can take part in these types of sporting events. “It is important for a diverse group of women to take part in these events, in hijabs or niqabs, to show that we are capable. I’m thinking of using ‘Big up Bradford’ as a tagline!

“We would also raise money for charity, and it would add to the Capital of Culture 2025 bid that the council is going for. It could be incredible.”

Mrs Ahmed adds that “Another idea could be getting a group of women together to do the Bradford 10K but because of cultural reasons the women may not want to run in their home turf which is why going up to Newcastle to do the Great North Run 2022 is a good idea.”

She also added: “If you want to take part then you’d need to be a little bit active, as it is a long race. I am very fortunate that I have a husband that is okay with me slipping off to train four times a week. A lot of women in Bradford will say they will want to do it, but when it comes down to it, can’t commit the time, which is why we would need dedicated times to train.”

If you would like to discuss training for the next Great North Run with Mrs Ahmed, you can contact her via Twitter on @FizAhmed.

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