Celebrating International Women’s Day, The Secret Marathon 3K happened in downtown Victoria on March 6, 2019. Inspired by the story of the first Afghan women who participated in a marathon in 2015, this event is now hosted in 16 cities across Canada with the purpose of celebrating everyone’s freedom to run and walk safely in their communities.
I am an international student at Camosun College in Victoria B.C., and, alongside three other classmates from different cultures, I was involved with The Secret marathon 3K as part of our social justice project. We helped to promote the event, fundraised, volunteered on the day of the marathon, and raised awareness about gender inequality and the reality for women in some parts of the world.
I saw the Welcome Celebration for Immigrants and Refugees on February 16th as an opportunity for me to do a fundraising baking sale of Brazilian traditional food while promoting the event and the work of Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan.
“Canadians taking action, in partnership with Afghan women, toward improving conditions of human rights, ending women’s oppression, and providing opportunities for Afghan women to live their lives with dignity, certainty and purpose.”
In addition to the bake sale, together with my team and the support of Camosun College Student Society, we hosted an awareness table at the college, also offering beverages by donation. The money raised with the registration for the The Secret Marathon 3K will go toward the costs for The Secret Marathon film release (expected Fall 2019). Other donations go to Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan to provides access to education for woman and girls in Afghanistan.
According to John Stanton, founder of Running Room, there is a strong value to this event:
“The sport of running is all inclusive, an empowering activity, one engaging the runner or walker physically, emotionally and spiritually. The Secret Marathon builds a sense of community during a time in which our world needs more community… a community of people helping and supporting each other. Come join the fun and together let’s make the world a safer place for all!”
Through this project, I could first educate myself, then others, about the oppression that some women still suffer in some part of the world, being deprived of their right to basic needs such as access to education and to engage in simple activities such as running or walking safely. Moreover, it was a great opportunity to connect with the community and build relationships, so crucial not only for my professional life but mostly, for myself as a newcomer settling in a new community.