Meet Warrior NinjaCat, who wants more children to run

She caught everyone’s eye with her outfit.

At the finishing line of a running event recently, Nor Izyani Mad Zain was swarmed by the other runners who requested to take pictures with her. The 33-year-old willingly obliged.

In her all-black outfit, ‘cat’s ears’ and two Japanese ‘swords’ (katanas) on her back, Izyani completed the 5km fun run in 44 minutes.

“My best time for 5km is 35 minutes, but I am still recovering from an injury setback last October,” said Izyani, more popularly known as Warrior NinjaCat.

“I took it easy as I was worried about aggravating my injuries. It feels good to be running again.”

She started taking part in running events in 2017 and took on the ‘ninja persona’ in 2019.

“Although I go by Warrior NinjaCat, my inspiration is the female Islamic warrior Nusaybah Ka’ab. That was how she dressed. It does look like a ninja outfit,” said Izyani, who custom-made her costume by mixing and matching the items and ‘swords’.

“I wanted to show people that even though I dress this way, I can still perform various activities without limitations.

“As a runner, I hope to attract children’s interest. Hopefully, I can inspire them to run, too.

“Running or walking is a relatively inexpensive sport. All you need are a good pair of shoes or even sandals.”

She admitted that she has to drink a lot of water as she perspires more than usual under her clothing.

“For longer distances, I carry a waterbag to stay hydrated. For the fun runs, I go to the water stations if I have to,” said Izyani, from Klang.

Izyani has completed several half marathons and 10km runs, but has yet to complete a full marathon, although that is something she hopes to accomplish when she is fully fit.

In the Jan 15 race, Izyani wore bright orange shoes, although she has run in turquoise-coloured sandals to complete her ‘look’.

A mother of two, Izyani said she finds running liberating and thanked her husband, Farhan Ali, for supporting her passion.

“He has never stopped me from entering races. Although he is not interested in running, he supports me 100 per cent,” said the housewife.

“There are times he brings the children to these events. It depends on whether there are side activities for families.”

Izyani said she captains a team of six other female runners, called Queen’s Titan Squad.

“We try to race in as many events together, but sometimes, it is just a few of us,” said Izyani.

“At the end of the day, it is not about dressing up, but enjoying each other’s company, and running.”

On your next fun run, keep an eye out for the Warrior NinjaCat.

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