BEIJING - With the kick-off to her 3,333km marathon taking place here less than a month after Flight MH370 went missing, Suwaibah Mohd Nasir braced herself for any backlash.
Instead, the former national long-distance runner was showered with support and encouragement from the locals as she completed the first leg of her run across 12 nations.
The 41-year-old said the Chinese cheered her on as she ran, motivating her by shouting "Jia you, jia you (Go, go!)".
"This demonstrates the friendship between the people of Malaysia and China, and also that we are all people of one world," she said.
Suwaibah is on a mission to complete the marathon, dubbed the Silk Route Run - Across Reverse of Marco Polo (Aroma). The former Royal Malaysian Air Force officer was flagged off by Malaysian Ambassador to China Datuk Iskandar Sarudin on March 30, clocking a total of 362km in the capital of China in seven days.
Among the famous destinations she ran past were the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Beijing National Stadium and Niujie Mosque.
Besides presenting 10 copies of Surah Yasin and a copy of the Quran to the mosque, Suwaibah performed her Friday prayers there.
Suwaibah will be leaving for Kazakhstan on Saturday. Her journey will also take her to Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Croatia and Italy.
Aroma patron Prime Minister's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor is scheduled to receive her in Italy on June 3. Themed One World One Hope, Aroma is aimed at spreading the message of peace.
Funds raised will be used to donate Islamic prayer materials and accessories to Muslim communities along Subaiwah's journey.