Members of Cardiff Muslim Runners. Image: Lowri Lewis
Members of Cardiff Muslim Runners. Image: Lowri Lewis

‘We’re not alone in this’: First Muslim men’s running group set up in Cardiff

Participants travel from as far as the Rhondda to join the group

CARDIFF’S first Muslim men’s running group has been set up after the founders noticed a lack of diversity in similar groups in the area. 

“They get connected with people who they’ve never met who are similar to them, and are like OK we’re not alone in this,” said Hanan Jamil, 42, co-founder of Cardiff Muslim Runners. 

Their weekly runs are timed to ensure that they do not clash with the five daily prayers which take place at specific times for Muslims. 

Mr Jamil said: “Adaptability is key. Other running groups won’t appreciate or understand that. And that’s no fault of their own, but at least then from our faith background, we’re tailoring it.”

They recite prayers at the beginning of their sessions which take place every Sunday according to Michael Clarke, 34, co-founder of the group. He said that the group offered spiritual benefits as well as the physical benefits of improving fitness. 

Cardiff Muslim Runners has had up to 18 people join sessions, and during their first, on January 21 two people ran their first 5k, said Mr Clarke. 

“They’ve all been so welcoming,” said Chris Harding, a recent convert to Islam who travels from Ystrad Mynach every week to attend the runs which start at Penylan Library in Roath. 

Cardiff Muslim runners Chris Harding (left), Michael Clarke (middle) and Hanan Jamil (right). Image: Lowri Lewis

Mr Jamil said that men have travelled from as far as the Rhondda to take part in the group’s runs. 

Mr Clarke and Mr Jamil have been running for several years. They met last year and trained to be running coaches together once they realised the needs of their community were not being met in Cardiff’s running scene. 

“Although we’re a faith-based group, we’ve had runners of other faith groups joining us; from the Sikh, Hindu communities and people who are not from the Muslim community but who have recently converted to Islam as well,” said Mr Clarke. 

People of all ages and abilities are welcome – so far their youngest runner was 10 and the eldest was in their 60s, according to Mr Jamil. They plan to start a Couch to 5k programme after Ramadan for those new to the sport. 

Blossom, a cafe on Wellfield Road, reserves seats for the group every week for them to have a coffee and a cake after their run. Seats are reserved even on days like Mother’s Day, when the cafe is at its busiest. 

The owner, Selma, said she was inspired by Cardiff Muslim Runners to start a walking group with her family.

A poster for Cardiff Muslim Runners on a community noticeboard. Image: Lowri Lewis
  • Cardiff Muslim Runners meet every Sunday at 10.30am outside Penylan Library and can be contacted via email at