Oak Tree Leisure Centre member raising thousands for charity

Mar 21, 2024 |

An Oak Tree Leisure Centre member has vowed to run 180km whilst fasting during the holy month of Ramadan – raising money for worthwhile causes across the globe!

Shahid Akhtar, 51, a Pharmacist from Mansfield, set himself the challenge in association with Charity Right - which looks to help feed starving children in war-torn areas.

What makes Shahid’s challenge so great is that he’ll be doing over 180km’s – a distance similar to Manchester-Birmingham - without a sip of water! Muslim’s observing Ramadan fast throughout the holy month, without eating or drinking during daylight hours. So, from before sunrise in the morning, until the sun goes down in the evening, Shahid and millions of other Muslims don’t take on any nutrients.

Shahid explains how that has affected him during the challenge: “Some of the hardest runs I’ve ever done have been in the last few weeks. I tend to begin my runs at about 6pm, but after you’ve already been fasting for 12 hours – it really starts to test your mental reserve.

“Some may think it gets easier as you go through the month, but it has gotten progressively tougher throughout. Your body is crying out for nutrients - but you have so little in reserve.”

So far, Shahid has raised 42% of his £6,000 target – and is asking for a push to help as many vulnerable people as possible. He explains: “People's generosity has really blown my mind. I started off with a target of £300, then I raised it to £1,000 and now we’re at £6,000 – it’s incredible!

“The cost-of-living crisis has really been tough on a lot of people – including myself - but that’s nothing compared to what people in some countries are going through.

“We must help those that are not as lucky as we are.”

Shahid has been a member at Oak Tree Leisure Centre for almost ten years and has thanked the team on-site for preparing him for his latest challenge. He said: “Everybody has been great. I’ve been building my fitness on the treadmill for the last few weeks in preparation.

“Running outside really takes its toll on the joints - so the treadmills in the gym here were perfect in helping me get ready for this challenge.”

So, what’s next for Shahid with Ramadan well under way and Eid approaching? He says: “I’m going to spend some quality time with my loved ones and look at the next challenge – it could be cycling, hiking, maybe running – let’s wait and see – but the most important thing is we’re raising money for lots of important causes!”

If you see Shahid on a run around Berry Hill – make sure you give him a wave and some encouragement as he looks to complete this mammoth challenge! Read more on his challenge here.

Feeling inspired by Shahid’s achievements? Join the gym at Oak Tree Leisure Centre on a 7-day pass and begin your own fitness story today.