As the saying goes, ‘birds of a feather flock together’ and so, it turns out, do runners. Participating in running clubs and crews are an increasingly popular way Canadians are coming together in their love of running.
Reebok Canada is a generous supporter of the running community with partnerships across the country, but two run crews and an individual runner stand out in clear alignment with the brand’s own philosophy and values. IMPACT Magazine is profiling each of them as part of a special, sponsored-content feature. Here is the third profile in this series, as chosen by Reebok.
Filsan Abdiaman did not set out to be a runner. Her interests were more aligned with working out in a gym. But when she began suffering with depression and anxiety about seven years ago after a relationship ended, running became a form of therapy. Today, it’s become so much more than that.
“I began by working out with a trainer who encouraged me to go outside and run. For me it became therapeutic. I like to solve problems myself,” she explains, “and running helps me do that. Plus it quiets the mind.”
Abdiaman started running around a track near her house, then decided to sign up for her first 5K race. She hasn’t looked back since, continuing to run, and tackling longer distances. Today, she’s a dedicated ultra-runner competing in 50 – 100K races.
“My next race is the Whistler Alpine Meadows Ultra on Sept. 21. The elevation will be a challenge –20,000 ft. of elevation gain over 110 kilometres. It will definitely be a test for me!”
“Running longer distances forces you to connect with your mind and body,” Abdiaman says. “You have to be in the moment.”
It didn’t take long for Abdiaman to realize she preferred trail to road running in order to enjoy the beauty of nature and now that she’s living in Vancouver, there’s plenty of choice. She moved to the west coast two years ago from Ontario, transferring with Good Life Fitness where she works as a personal trainer.
Before moving to Vancouver, Abdiaman was chosen as a brand ambassador for Reebok which gives her a platform to represent everyday women and especially women of colour.
“As a Reebok ambassador I can show women that if they work hard they can achieve their dreams. I’m proud to be part of this.”
“Reebok products let me transition really easily from the gym to everyday life. I wear my Floatrides everywhere, they’re really comfortable and stylish too!”
In addition to her work with Reebok, Abdiaman is the creator of a unique running group for women called ProjectLoveRun (PLR.) She started it in 2016 with the intention of inviting female runners to join her for a 4 -5K run followed by brunch where they could discuss women’s issues and tie that back to self-love and self-care.
“Therefore, ProjectLoveRun grew from my own experience with heartache, depression, anxiety and body insecurity,” Abdiaman explains. “I knew how running helped me so I wanted other women to experience that too.”
To kick start the project, Abdiaman and three friends ran in wedding dresses in downtown Toronto, drawing attention to PLR and the topic they were focussing on then – women running toward something greater. To get women to sign up, they handed out notes with details about PLR. Their efforts led to between 3 and 8 women joining Abdiaman for monthly runs, ending up at a local restaurant for brunch and a meaningful discussion.
When she moved to Vancouver, a friend took over her Toronto group as a leader, while Abdiaman got to work starting a Vancouver ProjectLoveRun with the help of Reebok and Sport Chek.
“We go to different parts of the city every month and find a cool local spot to eat,” Abdiaman says. “And we have a thoughtful discussion topic. The last one was all about ways to practice self-care for free.”
ProjectLoveRun has now spread to other Canadian cities. A Calgary PLR started up in June and an Edmonton PLR offered an inaugural run on Aug. 25.
“Reebok ties in very nicely with ProjectLoveRun,” says Abdiaman. “We try to focus not only on physical health through running, but also on mental health, where we come together to share stories. It reminds me of Reebok’s Be More Human campaign which was all about celebrating strong women who have made positive changes in unique ways.”
Although she started running purely as a way to combat her depression, Abdiaman has become a real champion for running. And through her efforts, she’s spreading the word that running can make a difference mentally and physically, helping women be the best they can be.
Be sure to check out the latest running gear from Reebok today.