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Women running in the Secret Marathon

There’s a Secret 3K Marathon Happening in Barrie

There’s a secret 3K marathon happening in Barrie and the organizers don’t want you to keep quiet about it. Held on the week of International Women’s Day, this event brings runners across Canada together to inspire global connectivity and celebrate our right to be free to run.

When: Wednesday March 6, 2019 / 6:30 P.M.

Where: 56 Dunlop Street East, Barrie

Registration: 6:00 PM / Race Start: 6:30 PM

Other Cities Participating: Victoria, Kelowna, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Fredericton, Red Deer, St. John’s, Winnipeg, Toronto, Kingston, Peterborough, Waterloo, Ottawa, Halifax

Marathons in Canada & Afghanistan

In the Bamiyan Valley, a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site in central Afghanistan, a historical marathon was run in 2015. Over 120 runners took part in the 10 kilometer race, including Zainab – the first ever Afghan women to complete a marathon in her home country of Afghanistan.

For women in Afghanistan, as with many places in the world, it is unsafe for them to run outside and largely not permitted. The marathon was sponsored in part by Free to Run, a non-profit that works toward providing athletic opportunities for women in conflict areas, such as Afghanistan.

On the importance of events like this, Free to Run’s founder Stephanie Case says “In Afghanistan, where women are largely confined to the indoors, when you run and when you hike and do outdoor activities, you are reclaiming public space.”

The Secret Marathon Film

Martin Parnell began running a little later in life than most, and has done his best to make up for that lost time. At age 47 he started running marathons and hasn’t stopped since, going so far as to complete 250 marathons in a single year. While recovering from a blood clot on his brain, he read about Zainab and was inspired to recover and run with her on the next.

Filmmaker Kate McKenzie, founder and director of the Worldviews Project, was inspired to run her first marathon in Afghanistan as well and trained with Parnell. Watch in the film as she documents their journey as they travel to the beautiful and complicated Afghanistan to run together in support of women’s rights. Along the way they meet other runners who tell their own stories of struggles, and of overcoming obstacles in a bid to realize the dream of everyone being free to run.

They hope to have their film become an educational resource for students to study issues of gender equality, and fitness.

Sponsored by The Running Room & Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan

This year’s event is partnered with The Running Room and Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (CW4WAfghan). To learn more and register for the marathon, visit The Running Room’s site. If you’re unable to attend, but still want to support this fantastic cause, you can make a donation online that will go toward editing the 100 hours of footage into the documentary, due to be released this year. All donations over $30 will receive a digital copy of the film.

Be sure to come out to the Secret Marathon next Wednesday, March 6th in support of empowering women and girls the world over. Keep an eye on Barrie Uncovered for more news on local events and more.

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