Taking part in a 5K run after a colleague died of a heart attack got Nicky Ali hooked on running.

Negat Ali, known as Nicky, from Enfield used to avoid running at all costs - she wouldn't even run for the bus.

The 46-year-old said: "I was one of those people who absolutely hated running.

"However about 10 years ago, after a colleague had a heart attack and sadly passed away, I got together with some friends and ran 5km for the British Heart Foundation.

"After that I was hooked."

Ms Ali, director of government partnerships for FutureLearn, a digital education platform, began running regularly with colleagues.

Ms Ali said: "This continued through the dark days of Covid and kept me sane, helping me tackle a heavy workload that included completing an MBA."

As well as park runs in Enfield, the mum-of-three keeps fit by hiking with her family.

She has trekked up Snowden and Scafell Pike with her son Shaan, 28, and daughters Sidra, 27 and Neha, 24, and is planning to take on Ben Nevis in 2024.

Ms Ali said: “We're planning to tackle Ben Nevis later this year and we also often join the Muslim Hikers too.”

She has also tackled long hikes abroad, completing the Camino-Santiago walk from Portugal to Galicia, north-west Spain, with her daughter Sidra and some walking friends last year.

Reflecting on the experience, Ms Ali said: "That was a great experience and demonstrated to me the strength and endurance of the human body."

The 46-year-old will be running the London Marathon on behalf of Herts MS Therapy Centre with her friend, Monju Ali.

The Hertfordshire Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre is a Letchworth-based charity that provides hyperbaric oxygen therapy for a wide range of conditions, and celebrates 35 years of service this year.

Outside of her running and hiking, Ms Ali enjoys whipping up authentic Indian meals.

A fan of biryani, she shared: "I've been told I'm an expert at biryanis!

"I also enjoy reading and list Khaled Hosseini, Dan Brown and JK Rowling amongst my favourite authors."