BENEFITING: Free To Run Inc.
How can a simple 10 miles lead to thousands more? Two months ago I decided to start training for my first ten mile race. I am a Canadian teacher living in small-town Iraq which seems like an unlikely place to discover a passion for running. I thought so too, until I found myself completely isolated from my community, friends and family. I tried running outside here, but the cultural and social norms restricted me from running freely and safely by myself. I joined a gym, but felt lonely and isolated seeing many girls training with their friends. Finally, I decided to buy my own treadmill for my small apartment, so I could throw on my gym clothes and my music as loud as I wanted. It was in running, in losing myself to the rhythm and burn, that I found inner and outer strength. Through the benefits of running I have learned how important physical activity is in maintaining a healthy body and mind - no matter where in the world you call home. Many girls in this part of the world feel this same loneliness and isolation I felt when I first started working here. They feel restricted and limited by the society they live in. I believe girls in this part of the world want the freedom to grow and thrive in all aspects of their lives. Freedom is a human right that every girl should have at home in their community. Girls should feel empowered mentally and physically to achieve their goals and I believe the opportunity for regular, safe physical activity is a step to achieving this change. How can ten miles lead to thousands more? To go a mile we don't have to be on foot. It can be with words, actions, travel and education. For the girls who want to run one mile or the girls who want to run a thousand miles, I want my first ten miles to matter - and help lead to a thousand more miles for girls around the world. This is what Free To Run in Afghanistan is all about and this is why I chose to support this organization for my first ten mile run. The goal is $2000 and any gift you want to give is graciously appreciated. My cousin, Adam Gilbert, has agreed to join me on this journey and will be helping me out with the fundraising efforts until we race together at the end of July. He is on the ground in Newfoundland, Canada and I am here in Zakho, Iraq - together we hope to reach our goal of $2000 and give more girls the FREEDOM TO RUN!