daily inspiration: marathon runner noor bibi

image courtesy of Noor Bibi

image courtesy of Noor Bibi

For this month's newsletter, I wanted to share the story of British-Palestinian runner Noor Bibi. Noor's story is worth sharing as she's one of 39,000 runners participating in this year's London Marathon. She's been selected to represent Medical Aid for Palestinians and will be the only runner to do so, campaigning for Palestinian's access to healthcare. Women like Noor make me excited about the future of the world (it most definitely seems to be female). 

I did a quick interview with her to hopefully inspire you to support her mission. Here it is:  

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I am a full-time consultant but also a part-time long-distance runner. I lived and studied in London and Kuwait. I was born and raised in London until I was 10. I then moved to Kuwait, lived there for an amazing 8 years, which eventually became my second home, and finished school before I moved back to London to complete my undergraduate degree. I recently graduated from King’s College London with a masters in International Marketing. Growing up between the UK and the Middle East has been a blessing which I am forever grateful for. It kept me very close to my roots and heritage. I am now living in London, as a proud Arab in one of the most diverse and international cities. 

What attracts you to running? 

Ever since I was at school, I would always participle in the races at sports day. At University, I continued with my passion for sports and played on the Women’s volleyball team. It wasn’t until I started running in big events like the bath-half marathon, or the North London half marathon, did I notice how much I loved running. The comfort it gives me, the freedom of running in open air with beautiful views, the fact that I zone out completely brings me joy and really makes me believe that you need to find a release or hobby in your life where you continue to push yourself. Running for miles has the potential to be painful and boring but until you train to reach a point where running becomes equivalent to meditating, the rest flows, your mind and body will just understand. Whatever uncomfortable situation you put yourself in ‘trust the process’ because it’s making you a survivor.

What motivates you to run the marathon on the behalf of Medical Aid for Palestinians?

MAP is a special case and charity which I am honoured to be representing, for many reasons. Before my grandfather passed away he was known in London for giving back, MAP is one of the beneficiaries. As his granddaughter, it makes me more than proud to raise money and spread awareness for a cause close to my heritage and family. Also, it’s always been one of my dreams to run the London Marathon - running with MAP who are always doing great things in London and the Middle East, makes it even more special to me. 

Who inspires you?  

My family. They bring out the best in me. The pep talk I always get from my 3 sisters, or even training together, I wouldn’t be able to do it without them. My parents used to come and watch every game or tournament we would play but the happiness I see on their faces at every finish line is a memory I always keep with me! It really is the simple things in life. However, an athlete with a story that truly inspires me is Yusra Mardini, a Syrian Olympian that swam on the Refugee Olympic Team, after being in a life-threatening situation. I am truly inspired by her story and her journey of making it this far. I am a firm believer of, ‘I can so I will’ and when you train your mind to approach situations in this way, the best is yet to come.

What aspect of your culture/heritage do you value the most?

As a Palestinian, my favourite aspect is the warmth and love we give to everyone around us. I feel this every time I travel or meet new people. There’s a special connection driven by my background and culture. I also love the way we unite and come together, especially at times when it is needed most. For that reason, I will do the best I can to help MAP give Palestinians better health care. 

If you are inspired by Noor and want to support her mission and Medical Aid for Palestinians, you can do so here or here