Since YMR Track Club began, we have been blessed to work along side and support Sweden's greatest long distance runner Mustafa Mohamed. It comes as no surprise that Mustafa has a rich and unique story behind his ascension to the top of athletics. From starting his life in Somalia, to becoming Sweden's marathon record holder - Mustafa's journey and career is truly one of a kind.

Moving to Sweden


"I was born in Somalia and moved to Sweden in 1990 with my mum and older brother after my mum fell in love with a Swedish man. I suppose it was love that brought us here. After they met, it was always the plan to come to Sweden to live but it all happened very quickly because of the Civil War taking place in Somalia.  I had mixed feelings about moving away as I was only 11 years old, so I was leaving behind my friends and grandparents – which felt really big to me at that time.


Arriving in Sweden presented lots of challenges, but probably two that were significant for me, firstly the weather – it was cold, very cold - we arrived in winter, and this was so very different to being in Somalia, and secondly the language – I could only speak Somalian, I couldn’t even speak English. Thankfully, my stepfather was fluent in Swedish, and he was very supportive in helping us learn, at home we mostly spoke Swedish and I picked it up quite quickly.

Mustafa Mohamed YMR Track Club


In Somalia I played football, I loved it, because it was so much fun – playing at school and out of school with my friends was just great. When I came to Sweden, I managed to join in with local children playing football and really enjoyed it – being part of a team again felt good. In terms of running, this happened whilst at school - each year we would run a loop and I always finished with of or ahead of the best runners – even though football was my passion.

About the same time my older brother trained with an athletics club in the neighboring town and his coach asked him to bring me along, so I did and that I guess is where it all began. Running though, for me was not as fun as football, but by training as a group I started to get stronger and faster and when you start to feel good in something it soon becomes more fun.

Mustafa Mohamed YMR Track Club


I love to compete; I love to test myself and see how far I can push myself. I love the variety and challenge each distance brings. Training for different events helps keep me motivated and less prone to injury than if I only trained for one event. Also, the training involved in each helps improve my over all performance.

My favourite event? Quite quickly this became the steeplechase because as an event it is so different to the others which are either running around a track or on roads. Running over the barriers and the water jump is fun and really exciting.

Mustafa Mohamed YMR Track Club
Mustafa Mohamed YMR Track Club


So, I have three very special moments and highlights in my career:

2002 I took part in the Gothenburg Half Marathon. At that time, I had not long moved to Gothenburg so to run in my hometown at one of the biggest half marathons in the world was very special. I only planned to run to take part as the race field was high profile, at the start line I couldn’t believe who I was standing alongside. So, when I won the race, it was pretty amazing. The home crowd and all the support – was just incredible. I ran 1:03:35 and at that time that was fast and given my training was focused on 5km and 10km I was genuinely surprised when I crossed the line first and when you get a surprise in a good way it feels so good.
2004 when I made it to my first Olympic final. This was one of my first dreams to make it to an Olympic final and when I did this in Athens, it made me so happy. I felt I had achieved my dreams.
2007 - The 3000 Steeplechase in Belgium where I broke the Swedish record – I ran 8.05 which was amazing. I didn’t think I would break the record at that time. Going into the race I thought I would maybe be close but to break it was a huge surprise for me, my coach, and my family. The feeling of that race was something else, I still have a smile on my face when I think about it, it was like I was flying, everything felt easy, smooth, and nice. I wasn’t focused on time, I focused on position. When I saw the time as I crossed the line – I genuinely couldn’t believe it.
Åsunden Men's Hoodie Ochre  YMR Track Club


I have worked with a lot of companies throughout my career. But what caught my eye at first about YMR Track Club was how beautiful the clothes were. I liked the colours and the style – it is unique – it’s retro. I also liked the fact it was founded in Boras, which is not far from me. So, when Peter contacted me, I felt honored to be part of the brand. As a smaller brand I can be more involved in decisions and I feel more connected.

I am able to contact Peter directly and give feedback and ideas to help inspire the development of new garments. It feels very personal to me which is exciting. I also love the fact that Peter and the team at YMR Track Club are so committed to doing the right thing from a sustainable point of view, this again is very important to me – the Ängsö collection is such a great example of this – it’s 100% Swedish. So yes, for me it is a very special brand and I am proud to be part of it.

Mustafa Mohamed YMR Track Club


Setbacks happen, I know I have had many. If you are sick or injured it’s so important to make sure you get rest and allow your body time to recover properly. Then start back easily, so often we go back to training too fast, and this sets us back again, so you must be disciplined about it - it might be that your first session back is a walk, then a walk run. Take it really slow.

Also, don’t panic…don’t let your mind take over. Focus on what you can do and be happy with that. Perhaps you might not be able to run, but you might be able to cycle or swim or lift weights. But don’t be too ambitious it takes time for your body to heal and it’s important to let it heal so that you can come back stronger.

1984 Plush Sweatshirt Ochre  YMR Track Club


Ok, so I share some perspective with this question. Plans are one thing, but you always must be able to adapt as not often things go according to plan. I had to step out of the Valencia marathon due to illness, now I am focused on Seville, but this is in February so I may not be in the shape I’d like to be so I may need to change my plan. The key thing about having a goal is it gives you something to aim for, so even if your plans change you are making progress. There are always races that you can do. There is always a positive.


Set a goal – small or big it will give you a focus – we have some great races with something for everyone this year – Trail, Road all distances (check to the website link)
Set good training habits – aim for 2-3 times a week but the key is to do something rather than nothing. If you don’t feel like running, walk or swim, bike or do a home workout. Variety is everything and it will all help towards achieving your goal.
Buddy up or join a club. Doing something together can be more motivating than being on your own. There are so many clubs to join and you can learn a lot by being part of a running club or community.