After months of training and fundraising, Rahaf Khatib has crossed the finish line at the Boston Marathon.
The runner, who was the first Muslim woman to wear a headscarf on the cover of an American health or fitness magazine, completed the race in about 5 hours and 13 minutes on Monday, according to unofficial results from the 2017 Boston Marathon website.
It’s not only a victory for Khatib ― this was the runner’s seventh marathon ― but also a triumph for Syrian refugees.
Khatib, who comes from a family of Syrian immigrants, used the race as an opportunity to help refugees who have resettled in her home state of Michigan. The athlete managed to raise $16,000 through the race for the Syrian American Rescue Network, a Michigan-based nonprofit that helps refugees adjust to life in America.
In a pre-race Instagram post, Khatib revealed that she was “tossing and turning all night” before the race. But, she wrote, she knows “God brought me here for a reason.”
“I’m honored and thrilled and know this will be an incredible experience inshallah [God willing].”
Khatib was born in Damascus, Syria, and later came to the United States with her family. She started running five years ago and has developed a following through her Instagram account, @runlikeahijabi, where she inspires Muslim women to get active.
In an interview with The Huffington Post earlier this year, Khatib said that she believed the chance to compete in the Boston Marathon was sent to her from God.
“I want to make an impact on the Ummah [the worldwide Muslim community], no matter how small, it’s my way of giving back to society and humanity,” she said.