When Haroon Mota committed to running his first marathon in 2012, he admits he didn’t give it too much thought.
London was hosting the Summer Olympics that year. British distance runner Mo Farah was reaching the peak of his fame as a local and international sports hero. A lot of people in England were taking up recreational running and, well, it was just a popular thing to do to sign up for the London Marathon.
But by the time Mota began the 26.2-mile race, he had found a focus and a purpose.
In the months leading up to the London Marathon, he raised over £7000 ($8,715 US) in donations for the Teenage Cancer Fund.
Mota had done similar projects in the past, taking on mountain-climbing challenges while raising money for charities such as Islamic Relief’s Orphan Campaign. His athletic background included kickboxing, mixed martial arts and soccer.
But running was a new venture. The marathon was intended to be a one-time experience, but Mota soon made running a lifestyle. Since then, he has run over 20 half-marathons and completed the London Marathon three times, using the events as challenges to raise money for a variety of charitable causes.
Sometimes, Mota runs alone. Other times, he puts together teams of runners. The benefit there is two-fold: Not only to raise money for charities, but also to promote and encourage fitness and exercise to his peers in the Muslim community.
In 2015, Mota was featured on Ummah Sports and Muslim Matters leading up to that year’s London Marathon, for which he’d raised £10,000 ($14,786 US) for Teenage Cancer Trust.
This month, Mota is taking things to another level.
The 31-year-old, who works as the fundraising manager for the non-profit humanitarian organization PennyAppeal, is aiming to run four marathons over the next three weeks: the Manchester Marathon on April 2, the Paris Marathon on April 9, the Boston Marathon on April 17, and concluding with the London Marathon on April 23.
The name of this challenge is #Running4Dad. Mota’s motivation is his father, Hafiz Kasim Mota, who died in a car accident in 2013.
Haroon’s goal is to raise £20,000 ($24,900 US) to build a solar water and power center in Senegal, in memory of his father.
Visit for website: http://ummahlink.org