Footpatrol International Women’s Day | Changing the Record with Intisar Abdul-Kader
It’s time to change the record. At Footpatrol we’re all about building a space to highlight creatives, and want to empower the women we have within our community. For International Women’s Day, we’ve teamed up with a female owned social media agency, spring, for a month-long campaign to change the record around stigmas and stereotypes that women face in their respective industries.
Meet long-distance runner Intisar Abdul-Kader (@intysar). We spoke with Intisar about how she’s raising awareness and inspiring the next generation of hijab-wearing athletes.
Footpatrol: Hey Intisar! Tell us about yourself and what you do?
Intisar: Hi, I’m Intisar Abdul-Kader. I’m a long distance runner based in London. I also work in public health for the NHS.
FP: What does ‘change the record’ mean to you?
Intisar: Change the record means – especially in my world of running – making running safe and accessible for everybody. I want the space to be safe and to also inspire the next hijab-wearing athlete to go out there and run. Getting to starting lines, looking to my right and left, and not seeing many girls and women wearing the hijab has definitely inspired me to change that narrative. It is our world too. Roads belong to us as well, so do the tracks.
FP: We hear that! What initially drove you to start long distance running?
Intisar: I ran in school, I ran mixed relays and then I moved onto cross country when I moved to the UK. I then gradually started road running as well. I had a slight health hiccup. Well, I wouldn’t call it hiccup. I’m living with it, and that kind of started my journey for long distance running where I just wanted to feel like I had control of my body when everybody was telling me to slow down. I didn’t want to slow down. I just wanted to go out there and run.
Running kind of became my therapy for getting out of this world of doctor’s appointments and so, I signed up for London Marathon 2016. I got in via a ballot and I never looked back. But now my goal is to earn my six world major stars. I’m four down, two to go.
FP: Do you face any challenges as a hijab-wearing athlete?
Intisar: I’ve come across quite a few stigmas. I’m visibly Muslim, so wearing a hijab at start lines, it’s kind of like, people look at me and they’re like, ‘oh.’
I can run, and I can practise Islam as well. I can show up to the same races that everybody else is showing up to, but with a hijab on my head, and that’s absolutely fine.
FP: Why is International Women’s Day still important and needed?
Intisar: As women and girls we’re changing the narrative every day. We should be celebrated everyday of the year, I think, not just that day but now we have a day to showcase and show the world that everyone is making a change, in their small little part of the world and that is something to be celebrated.
FP: What does the future look like for women in your community? What do you want to see?
Intisar: I would like to see more girls and women lacing up and starting at races. I want to be able to look and see yeah we’ve made that change, we’re making long distance running accessible to everyone. Running can be a lonely sport sometimes, but growing communities that nurture young people and helping them achieve their goals is definitely something that I want to be embedded in more, for the next young Intisar lacing up.
FP: Do you have a piece of advice for your younger self?
Intisar: Don’t listen to the tiny voice that says you’re not worth it or you don’t belong there. Imposter is very real – but you have to own it and say, ‘No, I’m going to be the change that I want to see in the world.’
Make sure to follow @intysar
Shout-out to the full female team that worked on this campaign:
This campaign is powered by Nike!