Community donations help Saskatoon runner compete at nationals

Watch above: A young man from Ethiopia calls Saskatoon home now and has become a local track star. Aaron Streck finds out how the community rallied behind the runner to afford him the opportunity to make a national appearance representing our province.

SASKATOON – ‘Tis the season for giving and lending a helping hand. No one knows that more than Ibrhim Mohammed. The cross country star wouldn’t be off to compete against the best in the nation if it hadn’t been for the community’s generosity.

“He’s a mentor to the rest of our runners, he’s an inspiration,” said RossAnn Edwards, a coach at the Riversdale Athletics Club.

Running has proven to be a type of universal language for Ibrhim Mohammed. The 19-year-old moved to Saskatoon from Africa in October 2013 and 13 months later is off to the nationals.

“This is my second time to run in Canada so I’m so excited,” said Mohammed.

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It’s been quite the journey for one of the top runners in the province, who despite not having a Canadian citizenship is allowed to compete in the National Championships this weekend. But there was another road block that stood in his way.

“I came here last year so I didn’t work, I don’t have money to go to Vancouver,” said Mohammed.

“I had five other athletes that did very well at provincials as well and I said ‘We’re going to go to nationals Ibrhim, do you want to come?’ He said yes I do but how much is it? I said ‘We will find the money Ibrhim, if you want to come we will find the money,'” said Edwards.

The community answered the bell, raising over a thousand dollars to help Mohammed get to Vancouver to compete in nationals.

Brainsport owner Brian Michasiw at was one of many who jumped at the chance to help.

“There’s a kid who is talented, who has a dream, wants to compete at nationals and come on we can make that happen,” said Michasiw.

“I’ve been a coach for 15 years and there’s been ups and downs coaching with athletes but this has made this year, it’s made it for me, I know we’re not talking about me but that’s what sport is about and it is about the athletes and supporting our athletes,” said Edwards.

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While the sky’s the limit for Mohammed, who had no running structure until this spring, he’s truly grateful to have this opportunity.

“I’m going to say thank you to the people who helped me,” said Mohammed.

Mohammed will compete in the junior men’s 8 kilometre cross country championship on Saturday.

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