Known as the first Muslim woman to wear a hijab on the cover of an American fitness magazine, Rahaf Khatib completed the Boston Marathon in an impressive 5 hours and 13 minutes on Monday. She tells Huffington Post that this marathon was personal for her – yes, it was her seventh race though that wasn’t the only reason. Hailing from a family of Syrian immigrants, Ms. Khatib used the race as an opportunity to help Syrian refugees and raised $16,000 for the Syrian American Rescue Network, a Michigan-based nonprofit that helps refugees resettle into America.
Born in Damascus, Ms. Khatib came to America as a young child. Five years ago, she started racing and soon developed a following through her Instagram account (@runlikeahijabi) where she inspires Muslim women to pick up a sport and get active.
The runner tells CNN she never expected to gain such a following. “I never really imagined myself as a figure on social media. I’m just an average Joe runner who’s trying to make a point and break stereotypes… Everyone I followed on social media was a white runner, running is a very predominantly white sport. You don’t see many hijabi runners out there…
“This is giving back to both humanity and giving back to the running community.”