Jameelah Abdul-Rahim Mujaahid is motivated by family as she completes endurance events nearly every month.
By Henry Howard
Jameelah Abdul-Rahim Mujaahid admits to being “hyper all her life.” The only thing that helps her keep focused is training.
“I have been diagnosed with ADD but I refuse to take medication; I just keep talking to myself so I can remember most things.”
To say that she is an ultra runner is an understatement. Glancing through her completed races on the Ultrasignup website, one will find six-day events, 24-hour races, 100-mile races and more. Mujaahid runs practically an ultra a month. Every month.
Even more impressive is that she is a single mother of five children and works full time.
Single Mom Tackles Parenting and Ultra Racing
Family, running and love
Mujaahid’s children are never far from her thoughts. “My children’s names are tattooed on my body so each race I think of them. I took their family time away that day so the option of stopping is not there.”
Family is very important to Mujaahid. In fact, it was her mother who inspired her to become an ultra runner.
“I had my fourth son and started training for a marathon,” she recalls. “He was 8 months old and I signed up for a trail marathon. Trail to conquer my fear of snakes and basically running alone in the woods at night. My mother went back to school to complete her degree in accounting and all I can remember is her walking under the viaduct which was down the street where we lived and she did that five nights a week by herself. I was so impressed that she was not scared to walk at night by herself.”
Mujaahid recalls that story when times get tough during a race. “Every race I get tired or scared, I think of how my mother pushed onwards to give us a great life,” she says. “My father owned a Texaco gas station so she didn’t have to work but she wanted to show us girls hard work pays off.”
It was a lesson Mujaahid learned early as she competed in high school cross-country and track. “I was good and went to state championships each year,” she says. “I was voted MVP each year too in high school and favorite athlete. That was cool because your peers vote for that one.”
She credits her high school coach, Fred Foster, for helping her discover a lifelong love of running.
“My inspiration to run long came from my high school coach Fred Foster,” Mujaahid says.
“He had me running everything in track. If someone got sick I had to run the 400 meters. If a girl cried or was too scared to run, he put me in the race. I ran the two-mile race because he told me to. I was always short and skinny with these muscles in my legs. I have had track legs since I can remember. My specialty was 200 and 400 meters.”
Kids come first
Gone are the quick sprints around the track. Now, she lines up for long endurance races with her kids on her mind.
“I do my best because my kids need to see the payoff of consistent training and dedication to reach a goal,” she says. “Be it a school project to get an A or be tested to move to an advanced grade. I started running at 3 and my grandfather called me three-legged because I always was running and I was fast.”
With all of her commitments at home and work, she tries to keep her focus on what’s most important.
“I complete my day by being focused on the top three things that have to get done,” Mujaahid says. “Kids knowing I love them and so that is first. Be it call or text them, even while they are in school, or come and surprise them at lunch. They are usually so happy to see me because it is mommy with extra money for snacks. LOL. I put my family first. Work is important but if there is a school play or honor assembly, ‘Oh well, I have to go.’ They must see mom in the audience — it makes the difference in how they respond to peer pressure of doing something wrong if following the rules of righteousness. I’m blessed to have nerds who love being good. They are simply happy with going to movies with me and they will happily shop with me anything as long as they are with mommy. I juggle clients so I think that is why I push my clients hard because you are taking my kids’ time. I am very protective of them.”
As Mujaahid trains hard and races long hours — or days — she counts on her children to help her out.
“They will do whatever is asked of them without fuss,” she says. “It may sound hard to believe in this day and age but even when I got a divorce each one wanted mommy to be happy. They are my strength and weakness all in one. . .
All I can say is running brings me joy but my children and being a good role model for them bring me true happiness. Whenever they are happy to say, ‘Yes, that is my mom and she ran 300 miles,’ that makes me smile.”
Name: Jameelah Abdul-Rahim Mujaahid
Hometown: Atlanta via New York City Favorite race distance: “My favorite race distance is 200 miles or more. I enjoy multi-day races more than anything. It seems the longer the race, the better I do.”
Favorite pre-race or training food/drink: “My prerace food is Chinese fried rice with broccoli and hot wings. I usually eat chicken and peanut butter with crackers throughout the race. I love pretzels too with chicken broth.”
Favorite or inspirational song to run to: “I listen to Disturbed, Korn and Seether to keep me motivated.”
Favorite or inspirational mantra or saying: “I say to myself, ‘You are not bleeding so push forward. Yes, you are tired, yes, your body hurts but it still will if you stop, so cross the line.’ ”
Where can other runners connect or follow you: I can be followed on Facebook by searching for Jameelah Abdul Rahim Mujaahid. On Instagram at hotlotsofkids and Twitter at @hotlotsofkids. My race blogs are on Facebook under hotlotsofkids/mother/ultrarunner.