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By Allison Buchan-Terrell

Aamer Trambu wasn’t interested in running. He didn’t love to exercise. But then he started running marathons.

“At the end of a marathon, when you actually finish it, the feeling is so unbelievable,” Trambu said.

“The feeling you actually crossed every metre — every step you took was so conclusive in getting you to that end.”

Now the fourth-year journalism and media studies student, is turning his ambitions to the world of philanthropy, in the hopes of raising money for Islamic Relief Canada.

As an exchange student from Jai Hind College in Mumbai, India, Trambu started with the 21 kilometre half-marathon portion of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon in January 2007.

This year, he was asked if he wanted to try the full 42 km Mumbai Marathon.

“I couldn’t believe myself and I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll do it.’ I completed it — I exceeded the time limit, but I did it,” he recalled.

Now he runs whenever there’s an opportunity. He is gearing up to run the Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon on Oct. 19. This time, he is running the 40 km relay marathon with an eight-member team to benefit Islamic Relief Canada.

Initially, Trambu approached Islamic Relief in order to secure sponsorship because he wanted to run. But once the group accepted his pitch and he started to get a team together, his reason shifted.

“Now, finally, I am running for things beyond myself,” Trambu said. Islamic Relief is an independent, non-governmental relief and development organization that responds to disasters and emergencies in 20 countries worldwide, and it promotes sustainable economic and social development in local communities.

The team hopes to raise $10,000 to support the organization’s work with orphans.

Islamic Relief helps children orphaned due to conflict, famine and diseases like HIV/AIDS. Currently, it sponsors 20,000 orphans to ensure they finish school and have money for food, health care and other necessities.

Trambu’s team includes three other Ryerson students: Saad Hameed, Asad Qamar and Mohsin Rehman.

The team also includes Shaila Kibria, executive director of Islamic Relief, Adnan Yusuf, a University of Ontario Institute of Technology student and Namsheed Nazeer, a friend of Trambu from Saudi Arabia.

They haven’t chosen their eighth member yet.

The current team members haven’t started working together yet, but they all train and run on their own time.

Trambu does not have any specific pre-race rituals, but avoids high-protein meals 24 hours before the race since protein is harder to digest.

He also says drinking too much water during the race is also something to worry about.

Runners can often over-hydrate while running marathons, because they are taking in too much fluid and displacing sodium needed in their system. This can lead to cramps and in rare cases hyponatremia, a condition that leads to swelling of the brain.

The team has four days left to reach its goal and so far has been unable to raise enough money.

They posted a note on the Islamic Relief Facebook group asking for donations for the race.

Alternatively, people can pledge a particular amount per kilometre of the race completed by the runners.

Those interested in pledging should contact Trambu by email at spartymantz@gmail.com.

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