By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — Resident Rahaf Khatib is one of 11 finalists for the second annual Runners World magazine cover search.
“I couldn’t believe it when I got the news,” Khatib said. “It was surreal that I was selected as a finalist from more than 1,000 entries.”
The contest had more than 1,600 entrants who submitted photos and descriptions about themselves.
Runner’s World chief running officer Bart Yasso, executive editor Tish Hamilton and editor-in-chief David Willey selected 100 semifinalists for the magazine’s cover.
From there, the judges interviewed the 100 semifinalists via Skype for a finalist spot.
”The process was brutal,” Yasso said on the magazine’s website. “There are no losers but we had to choose a winner.”
Readers of the magazine were able to vote online for their favorite runner from the 100 semifinalists. More than 250,000 votes were cast by readers.
The top 11 finalists were chosen by the Runners World panel, including Peter Ciaccia, president of the New York Road Runners, and “Today” host Natalie Morales.
Michael Cates, Jorge Garcia, Samantha Gardner, Bobby Gill, Kimberly Heinz, Andrew Peterson, Desiree Rincon, Michael Scott, Michelle Walker, Michael Wardian are the other 10 finalists for the cover.
Khatib, 31, began running marathons in 2012 when she registered to partake in the Martian Marathon in Dearborn and from there she was hooked.
She was raised in Dearborn where she graduated from Fordson High School and also graduated from Wayne State University with a major in biology.
Since 2012, Khatib has participated in two full marathons, eight half marathons and two triathlons.
Khatib said running in marathons helps her feel free during her 10 years as a stay-at-home mom and hopes to inspire other stay-at-home moms and Muslim American women.
Since entering the contest, Khatib has been contacted by local and national groups asking her to start running clubs for Muslim women.
“The running community is so positive, so welcoming, and so open-minded. I love it,” she told the magazine. ”I preach to my fellow covered sisters that no matter how you look or what you wear, don’t let that stop you from running!”
Khatib plans to run in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October after she was selected via lottery to participate.
The winner of the Runner’s World magazine December cover will be announced on Oct. 29.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])