The ‘Running Man’ of Oldham looks to raise £50k for Pakistan flood victims

A 30-mile ‘Unity Trek’ from Oldham to Bradford led by the ‘Running Man’ of Oldham has raised thousands of pounds for the Pakistan flood-relief efforts.

Afruz Miah is a prolific runner who is famous for running 313 km from Oldham to London twice while fasting during the month of Ramadan. In total, he has raised more than half a million pounds for charity.

The 49-year-old and other fundraisers from surrounding areas walked from Oldham to Bradford to raise £12k last weekend for the Pakistan flood victims.  

In total they have raised over £30,000 for the campaign and are planning other events to reach their overall target of £50,000.

“It was a tough walk as we were a big group and we had to pull together, and the journey was uphill and the elevation was high. We set off at 8 am and finished at 8.30 pm. So the journey took more than 12 hours, but we had short breaks in between for prayers,” says Afruz.

“Oldham council helped in the campaign by opening their office for us and provided refreshments for the participants. We gathered at the base of the council, the Civic Centre. It was nice for them to open up on a Sunday morning for us.”

“Throughout the walk, every five miles we had pit stops so if someone couldn’t continue, they had the option of going back to Oldham. Apart from one person, everyone was able to complete the trek. It was good to know that support was available if things got too hard.

He adds: “The concept of Unity represents humanity, we had help from the local council and Pakistanis and Bangladeshis joined in. We had donations from all sorts of people from different backgrounds.”

Distributing the aid

Afruz says the money raised will be used in several ways including buying food parcels, medication and helping with shelter and housing.  

“Many people have lost everything. From my following a lot of people have been making big donations. Even people from outside the country are contributing.”

The team had many well-wishers and were treated to a free buffet meal consisting of fifty dishes without being charged a single penny. He says the money was raised with zero costs.

“We met a lot of people and saw beautiful landscape. When you walk through the countryside, it feels different as you can take it all in, for me that was the highlight, seeing the beauty of Allah’s creation,” he says.

Afruz will fly out to Pakistan in October to help with distributing the aid.  

“I wish to thank everyone for their continued support. People surprise me in every one of my campaigns. Without people coming forward, fundraising would be very difficult. There are a lot of people working hard behind the scenes,” he adds.

Staying active

In future campaigns, Afruz plans to either run or walk from Oldham to Makkah or Madina in Saudi Arabia.

Ashton Hiking club helped to organise the walk as they have expertise in planning hikes. One of the founders of the club, Shazad Hussain said: “Our club was started a few years ago but it quickly became popular. We were doing a lot of walking. It was something we enjoyed doing so we planned walks every Sunday. After the first lockdown a lot of people joined us as they had a lot of free time including taxi drivers as they don’t really exercise much.

“Staying active is important especially in the Asian community as it’s not commonly done. Most Asians don’t know how to plan routes and what equipment is needed on hiking trips.

“We focus on the Muslim community as they are people we know and who we grew up with. But anyone is welcome to join us whether Muslim or non-Muslim.” he says.


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