Running through Ramadan with Metea Valley’s Rameez Abrar

Donate Today Buy This Video

After his first big race as a freshman, Metea Valley track and field runner, Rameez Abrar, wasn’t sure if he could compete during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. 

“He literally came up to me at the end of it and said, ‘Coach, I don’t think I can do this during Ramadan,’” said Metea Valley Boys Track and Field Coach Aaron Lewis. “He was not afraid, but definitely wondering if he could truly be at his best because he’s also such a consummate competitor.”

Rameez Abrar’s four-year journey with Ramadan and Metea Track & Field

The young Mustang turned to his faith in God and carried on running that season. He continued to learn what worked best for his body, and what it took to make him a top athlete during Ramadan. Four years later and now a senior captain, Abrar has found his stride.

“I mean, honestly, it is really challenging because of running at practice every day, going with no food, and no water, it is really hard,” said Abrar. “But, I know I’m not the only athlete in the world who is doing it. “

Every year, Muslims worldwide observe Ramadan, which includes fasting each day from dawn until dusk. In years when the holy month falls during their seasons, Muslim athletes across many sports, such as NBA Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon and Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown have developed routines to prepare themselves for the rigors of competition without the energy provided by food and water.

“I know there are millions of other people who are performing at such a high level, so it helps keep me motivated. I know God is with me every step of the way, so I know that I can do this.” says Abrar

Daily schedule with Ramadan, school, and running

The fasting times change every day because of the sunrise and sunset. On Tuesday, April 2, Abrar woke up at 4:40 a.m. for prayers followed by food. He went to the mosque around 5:20 and returned home around six a.m. to get ready for school.

Classes end for the day at 2:25 p.m., and then it was off to track and field practice till 6.

“So I have from 6 to 7 to try and do homework, which is pretty much just before the time we’re allowed to eat. After that, from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. is an extra hour I have to try and get any more homework done and anything else that I need to do. After that, it’s going to the mosque, coming home, going to bed, and waking back up.”

Abrar’s impressive senior season for Metea Valley Track & Field

In mid-March, just after the start of Ramadan, Rameez Abrar finished in third place in the 800-meter at the DVC Indoor Track and Field Championships. His race started about 15 minutes after sunset, meaning he could eat and drink. He also secured top-three finishes at the Central Rocket Indoor Boys Invite and the Rockford Auburn Invitational with the 4×800 relay team.

“When I was younger, back in middle school, I really wasn’t that good. I’ve put a lot of effort into getting to where I am today and to be able to know that I can still compete with everyone else at a very high level while I’m fasting just makes me super excited for when I’m done fasting, for when it’s outdoor season and my body will be at top performance, I’ll be in peak shape. I know I’ll definitely be able to contend with some big dogs out there.”

While Ramadan is hitting the home stretch, the outdoor track and field season is just getting off the starting blocks. Abrar qualified for state in the 800 last season, making the cut by one-tenth of a second. The hope for another memorable spring for the Mustang senior and his teammates awaits at the finish line.

For more prep sports stories, visit the Naperville Sports Weekly page!