Rahaf Khatib is a 7-time marathoner, training and living with her husband and three children in Farmington Hills, Mich. She’s also been in the national spotlight in the past couple of years—she was the first Muslim hijabi runner to be featured on the cover of Women’s Running magazine a year ago, and she also was selected as a top 10 finalist for Runner’s World cover running contest in 2015. Rahaf joins Heather on the show to talk about her start in running in 2012—her son’s gym teacher encouraged her to sign up for a 5K (she ended up running the 10K!)—and how she went on to tackle half marathons, sprint triathlons and marathons. Supporting and encouraging fellow Muslim and non-Muslim women is important to Rahaf, who co-organized a 5K for INSA (Islamic Society of North America) for more than 500 runners. “My goal is to represent the under-represented—that is, Hijabis in the fitness world.” She also strives to educate others about her faith and her decision, as part of her Muslim faith, to wear long sleeves, pants and the head scarf called hijab while running. “The question I’m always asked is ‘Aren’t you hot?’” she says. Rahaf, who was born in Damascus, Syria and grew up in Dearborn, Mich., is founder of the popular Instagram account Runlikeahijabi, where she posts running tips and advice for Muslim and non-Muslim women. While training for Boston 2017, she raised $16,000 for refugees in Michigan. Rahaf blogs at Run Like a Hijabi.
Fall race season is upon us, and Heather kicks off autumn (yay for cooler weather!) with a summer re-cap/fall preview show with special guest Emma Durocher, her 17-year-old daughter. Emma, who is in the midst of her final high school cross country season, shares how she got started in the sport, the reasons she gave it up for awhile, and why she later decided to pursue longer distances (she’s completed four half marathons in the past year and a half!) in addition to her year-round cross country training. Heather and Emma have an honest discussion about running as a family (and how, realistically, kids aren’t necessarily going to want to always run with mom and dad). Emma also talks about what running has come to mean to her— “In places in my life where I didn’t have a lot of friends or was sad, I would turn to running ... It’s just something where I just do it and feel so much better after, like something has been lifted off my shoulders. [That feeling] doesn’t always happen during the run … but I guess just using it as a tool to be a better person, that’s always how it’s helped me.” She also shares thoughts on those early miles of a run: “When I am out on a long run, it’s always around this mark, 2.66, when I think that’s enough for me. But once I get past that, for me, I feel super strong and I think, ‘Ok, I can do this.’ I think in every run, there’s a hump to get over.”
Also during this episode, Heather and Emma talk about their family trip to the Porcupine Mountains this summer and their upcoming mom-daughter tradition of attending the American Home Fitness Detroit Women’s Half Marathon, 10K & 5K on Belle Isle in Detroit. This year’s race weekend is Sept. 16-17. Heather and Emma have run the half marathon there together in the past and this year will take on the 10K. Speaking of race weekend, the Expotique is Saturday, Sept. 16 and MRG will again have a booth—stop by to say hello and check out all-new Michigan Runner Girl fall apparel. These items can be found at the online store, too. Shop here.