Oct. 6, 2009
Madison, Wis.- Adjusting to college life for a freshman doesn’t always come easy, but for Mohammed Ahmed, Madison feels just like home. Mohammed was born in Somalia but moved to Canada seven years ago and he is now one of the freshmen in the UW cross-country team.
Once in Canada, Mohammed started training more frequently and excelling in running. This improvement came because he fell in love with the sport and most of all the inspiration that came from his former coach, something really important for him. Mohammed says that he decided to come to Wisconsin because of the relationship he developed with his current coach Mick Byrne.
“He always made me feel very good about coming to Wisconsin, it was like almost talking to a friend,” Ahmed said. “He also has great experience and he has been helping me a lot so that makes me feel like I’m in the right place too.” Madison now feels like home to him but in a day in the life of Mohammed, there is some thing he is definitely missing: his mother’s food.
Mohammed fasted for a month when he first moved to Madison this summer due to his religion and the adjustment was “one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.” Back home, Mohammed was able to eat with his family during the night and fast all day, but since he was in Madison this year during Ramadan, he had to take care of it on his own.
“The first few days were really hard, but Coach Byrne understood that I couldn’t train as much as everybody else because of it and I’m glad he supported me all the way.”
Now that the month of Ramadan has ended Mohammed just spends the day like any other student-athlete that is adjusting to the first year of college. He usually wakes up at 8:00 a.m., eats breakfast (now that he can eat) and goes to class. In the afternoons he practices with the team and works out at the track.
“Right now I’m just focusing on catching up to get ready to race at the course. I’m really excited about our next meet in October.” When Mohammed was asked what he liked most about UW-Madison the answer was too easy. “I just love the city, have you ever gone for a run by the lake?"
Story by Isabel Alvarez, UW golf student-athlete; Photo by Lorenzo Zemella 10/6/2009 2:52:29 PM