After our first run with 40+ attendees, SFMRC has grown immensely. Initially, runs were only in San Francisco, but we have expanded to the East Bay, the Peninsula, and the South Bay Area, bringing together runners across the wider Bay Area. Runs begin with informal introductions, a pre-run dua, and warm-ups. We then split into two groups—a 2-mile group and a 3-mile group—and end with a social coffee/meal.
Our regularly scheduled Saturday runs cater to runners of all levels—from those looking to stay active to experienced runners training for their next race. MRC welcomes everyone as they are and strives to emphasize physical health and well-being. Since there are many transplants in the Bay Area, SFMRC has served as many members’ introduction to the Muslim community here. While friendships may have started in SFMRC, they have extended beyond our morning runs.
But don’t take our word for it…instead, take it from someone who has actually experienced all the wonders of SFMRC! We interviewed Manal Bejaoui, a South Bay native who works for Workday as a marketing operations manager, to hear all about how SFMRC has impacted her community experience.
MAS: What has your experience with SFMRC been like?
Manal: Amazing! Muslims meeting once or twice a week to reach a certain goal together has been extremely motivating for me. My weekly highlight for sure.
MAS: Why did you join, and then go on to stay as an active member?
Manal: I joined because as a Muslim woman who wears hijab and who is and has always been very physically active, not having Muslim friends to do my activities with has really had a negative effect on my life and pushed me away from my community. I was always in spaces where I was the only Muslim woman, and it drained me, being the person who was different. Or you have the other end of the spectrum: being the only physically active Muslim woman within your Muslim group of friends and being labeled as a tomboy, etc. Equally draining in every aspect. So to finally have a community of Muslims, especially Muslim women, to motivate and be motivated by, who enjoy things that I enjoy when it comes to physical activity as well as other things in life, has been extremely rewarding for me. I stayed an active member to find that other soul who has been searching for the same home to have that I have been looking for.
MAS: What are some things you learned from joining SFMRC, and how has that translated to other aspects of your life?
Manal: [I learned] that everyone is on a different journey within their lives and that having a group of people to lean on and accomplish goals with, or just have adventures together, makes every day easier to go through because I now have that support of a Muslim community I have always dreamed of having. Not to mention the type of people this group has attracted in general—some of the most unique and genuine souls that I get to learn from on a day-to-day basis just by interacting with them. It is just a great honor, Alhamdulilah!
Thank you, Manal, for sharing your experiences with us! For more information about SFMRC and how to get involved, check out their Instagram page @sf.mrc!