Active Inclusion Network
2013. Haroon Mota
Haroon Mota, from Coventry, is a mountaineer and marathon runner who set up ‘Active Inclusion Network’ and ‘Muslim Hikers’ to champion diversity in the outdoors and promote physical fitness and wellbeing for South Asian communities.
Haroon was inspired to start fundraising to support Muslim charities through marathons and climbing challenges after coming across a group of British Asian women climbing Mount Snowdon in 2007 who had been raising money for ‘Islamic Relief UK’. Haroon has since raised over one million pounds for Muslim charities, completing the London Marathon several times and climbing the base camp of Everest.
Noting how the South Asian community is particularly hit by health inequalities in the UK, and with a strong passion for increasing diversity and inclusion in outdoor fitness, Haroon set up a ‘Muslim Hikers’ group in 2020. The group has proved hugely popular, and led Haroon to setting up a wider ‘Active Inclusion Network’, made up of multiple groups such as ‘Muslim Runners’ and ‘Muslim Cyclists’.
Haroon has recently launched a Ramadan Challenge in partnership with international food charity, ‘CharityRight’ to raise money to help provide school meals to impoverished children around the world. Participants set a personalised activity goal such as cycling, running or walking at a level suited to them to complete over the 30 days of Ramadan. On 17 April this Ramadan, Haroon is heading to the USA to run the Boston Marathon and he has set himself a target of raising £25,000 for children in need who go hungry every day and are unable to attend school or break the cycle of poverty. The Boston Marathon will be Haroon’s 22nd marathon and by taking part and running for charity, Haroon hopes to show how charity and community are pivotal values of the Muslim faith.
In a personal letter to Haroon, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
“I want to thank you for all that you do to promote physical fitness and wellbeing in South Asian communities and raise thousands of pounds for great causes in the memory of your late father.
“By creating the ‘Active Inclusion Network’ and groups like ‘Muslim Hikers’ you are inspiring so many others to join you in outdoor activities.”
Colleen Fletcher, Haroon’s local MP, said:
“Haroon is an extremely worthy winner of the Points of Light Award. His passion for increasing diversity and inclusion in outdoor fitness, while fundraising to support the vital work of Muslim charities, is truly inspirational. Haroon is a credit to the City of Coventry.”
“I am truly honoured and feel very proud to receive this recognition for my work. This only inspires me to continue striving for the communities I feel so passionate about.”