Dearborn native runs marathons to inspire women

Photo courtesy of Rahaf Khatib. Rahaf Khatib celebrates at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris after completing the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris in April.

Photo courtesy of Rahaf Khatib. Rahaf Khatib celebrates at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris after completing the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris in April.

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — Running marathons may seem like a daunting task for most, but one Dearborn native sees marathons as a way to inspire other women.

Rahaf Khatib, 31, began running marathons in 2012 when she registered to partake in the Martian Marathon in Dearborn.

She was raised in Dearborn where she graduated from Fordson High School and also graduated from Wayne State University with a major in biology.

“The gym teacher at my son’s school was running the 10K and talked me into registering,” Khatib said. “I began training for the 5K but decided to go ahead and run the 10K.”

That one marathon would be the beginning of a new hobby for Khatib.

“I knew after crossing that finish line in April 2012 that I was hooked,” she said. “The euphoric feeling of crossing finish lines and to be part of the running community keeps me coming back for more.”

Since 2012, Khatib has participated in two full marathons, eight half marathons and two triathlons.

“I am not about numbers, milages, or pace,” she said. “I run with my heart and soul and sometimes it’s not always easy or pretty.”

Khatib said running in marathons helps her feel free during her 10 years as a stay-at-home mom.

“Through running I’ve been able to show my kids I have passion and inspiration,” she said, “to be determined and to have goals and to meet those goals.”

What started out as a hobby has grown into much more for Khatib including inspiring other stay-at-home moms and Muslim American women.

“I am hopefully trying to dispel stereotypes of what being a Muslim is through running,” she said. “I also hope to inspire people who think they can’t run because they dress a certain way, including wearing a hijab.”

For her next marathon, Khatib was selected via lottery to run in the 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October.

“Training for the marathon will begin after Ramadan,” she said. “As an American Muslim female who covers, training during hot summer days is definitely tough.”

Khatib has entered to win Runners World Magazine Cover Contest which gives her the chance to be on the cover of the December 2015 issue.

“I entered to win Runners World Magazine Cover Contest to create a positive image for Muslim American females and show that even a very average person can win,” she said.

Voting for the contest is now open and goes through July 22. Those interested in voting for Khatib can go to her entry page at http://coversearch.runnersworld.com/entry/594/4uceba2s73a7l1idyh2.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at znajm@bewickpublications.com.)

Tags: