First-time Marathon Runner Signs Up for the Hackney Half Raising funds for the NKF


Mikail Ridhwan who lives in South West London, is taking on the Hackney Half Marathon on the 26th September all in support of the National Kidney Federation (NKF).

Mikail will be running through East London to fundraise for the kidney charity the NKF who campaign for improvements to renal provision and treatment and provide national patient support services.

Explaining in more detail the motives of signing up to the challenge Mikail comments; "In 2019 my family came to the realisation that my mother was very close to either needing to live on dialysis or receive a kidney transplant.

My mother Krisma was first diagnosed with a kidney disease around 4 years ago. Things got progressively worse over time and by the end of the year the doctors recommended putting her on the transplant waiting list.

Being South East Asian means that waiting on the deceased donor list in the UK could take years to get a strong match donor. I understand that this is also the case for a lot of South Asians, Africans and Caribbean’s living in London. So our family members started to get tested to be a donor around March 2020 when the pandemic started to spread. However, Covid caused some delays in getting tested due to various lockdowns, but eventually I got tested in August 2020 and was a strong match.

On 28th April 2021, I became a live donor for my mother Krisma Ambarwati. Having taken up running in lockdown and to keep me motivated in my recovery, I then decided to sign up to the Hackney Half Marathon which is my first running event, with a goal of running a time of 1hr 24 minutes. That’s running quicker than 4 mins/km for the length of 21.1km.”

After the operations, Mikail and Krisma recovered well and relatively quickly. Mikail continues; "It’s given my mother a lot more energy day to day and she can slowly return to a more normal diet from being on a quite restrictive one for quite a few years.” He adds; “The NHS have been excellent with us. Everyone was thorough, considerate and caring and I felt well looked after throughout. The first week or so after the operation was quite difficult and painful, but I noticed some drastic improvements around week 23. I was impressed that I was able to go home on the Friday evening when the operation took place on the Wednesday. The nurses said the same operation around 20 years ago, you would be in the hospital for 3 months+ so it’s amazing how much medicine and surgical practices have advanced!”

The Hackney Half Marathon became a goal setter for Mikail to keep his spirits high and be motivated with his recovery, he describes his training and the build-up to event; “In the first 8 weeks after the operation I wasn’t able to do any physical activity. But at around weeks 8 to 10 I was able to do some light cycling/spinning and light jogging. I’ve slowly just ramped up workouts from that point being cautious not to overexert myself and risk getting a post op hernia. Then after around 14-16 weeks post op I started running and cross training 4-5 times a week leading up to the race event.

I’ve always been a competitive athlete. I was worried that I’d be annoyed by the lack of mobility and fitness in the early months post operation but having something to train for and for a great cause gave me extra motivation and something to work towards. I’ve never done a running event or any endurance event before, so I’ve learnt a lot about how runners and endurance athletes train.

I used to think running was the simplest sport, but I have a newfound respect for running athletes. A few of my family and friends will be there to support me on the big day along with my girlfriend and her dog!”

Mikail set his fundraising target to £500 and exceeded this with over an amazing £700. “I really appreciate everyone’s contributions, support and kind messages. Now I’m going to see if I can push the £1,000 mark for such a great cause!”

Signing up for the challenge has left Mikail wanting to give some advice to people who may consider becoming a live donor; “There are so many organisations in the UK and around the world where you can speak to someone who has been in your shoes. I reached out to an organisation, and they have given me the contact details of a sponsor / buddy who I was in touch with regularly leading up to the operation. It was the best decision I’ve made becoming a donor, and over time I changed from being apprehensive going through with the operation, to being truly excited about it. I also recommend to people who are considering becoming a live donor to listen to the BBC podcast – My Donation Story.”

To support Mikail visit his JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Mikail-R

To take part in an event for the NKF visit: https://www.kidney.org.uk/Pages/Events/Category/event?Take=14