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Marathon Runner Hopes To Inspire Somali Women

(credit: CBS) Rachel Slavik
Rachel Slavik joined the WCCO team in October of 2010 and is thrill...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This Sunday, thousands will take part in the Minneapolis Marathon in both the full and half versions.

One participant, Fadumo Mohamed, will be running to inspire others and to change the perception of the typical runner.

Mohamed, who has already completed her first half marathon, hopes to stand out in the crowd. As she stretches before running around Loring Park, Mohamed looks every bit the experienced runner.

But, in the Somali community, she’s an unlikely athlete.

“It’s not part of my culture to run,” Mohamed said.

Yet last year, she overcame culture and finished the Minneapolis Half Marathon. It was her first race, but not her last.

“I can say my life changed in a very positive way after the half marathon,” she said.

Her feat inspired her friend, Awro Warsame, to join this Sunday’s 13.1-mile challenge.

“Hearing that she was running, I wasn’t surprised. It just made me want to be right up there behind her, or beside her, hopefully,” Warsame said.

She has spent weeks training with Mohamed, and the goal goes beyond the finish line.

“That’s what’s going to get me through when I’m at that last breath,” Warsame said.

They are running to promote education and health in the Somali community.

“In life, when you want to do something beyond your limits, something you’ve never done before, you got to have a cause beyond yourself,” Mohamed said.

And that means breaking the image of the traditional runner. The two women will stay true to Somali culture and will run in head scarfs. Mohamed also plans on wearing a long skirt. The hope is that other Somali women will be encouraged to join their race next year.

“Some people tell me, ‘Oh, it’s not very traditional to run 13 miles.’ I’m like, ‘You can keep your traditional and do anything great you want to do in life,'” she said.

This race may be an individual challenge, but the finish could have a far-reaching impact

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges will also run the race with the two women.

The marathon and half marathon both begin near Theodore Wirth Park Sunday at 6:30 a.m.

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