On 20 March, I will run my first street half marathon in support of Free to Run, the organisation that first got me running and that supports girls who remind me of me as a girl growing up in Afghanistan and as refugee in Iran and Pakistan. Running has always been part of my life, but not as you might imagine. When I was three, I was made to run across a border in a night-time escape from the Taliban. At the age of six, I learned that I should keep running, in the figurative sense of the word, if I wanted to seek knowledge and obtain an education. I only learned how to run for leisure when I was in a different country, and almost 22 years old.
Today, I run because I am free.
I run because I want to show that women are powerful and capable of doing sports.
I run for those Afghan women who, 14 years since the fall of the Taliban, are not allowed to leave their house, because of tradition and conservative attitudes.
I run for Farkhunda, a 27 year old young girl, who was violently beaten by the crowd and burned on the streets of Kabul. I run for the hope of humanity I lost when I found out about Farkhunda.
I run for Rukhshana, a 19 year old young girl, who was stoned to death in Ghor province just because she wanted to live a better life.
I run to grow love and humanity in my heart.
I run in order to grow strong so I can fight off injustice.
I run for my country because I am proud of my country, and because I have hopes for a better Afghanistan, where women and girls can run as freely as I run in America.
I run to help girls like me who are still back in Afghanistan. I sincerely hope that they will not, like me, learn how to run away, but to run towards something.
My parents always told me that we are born free and we will die free. “Never let anyone discourage you to reach your dreams or force you in doing things you don’t want to do.” Unfortunately, that was not the case in most things for girls in Afghanistan. I was not able to do any kind of exercise or outdoor adventures outside my house because I am a girl. By sponsoring me, you will help Free to Run to continue providing opportunities for girls in Afghanistan who wouldn’t otherwise be able to do any sports.
I want to thank my American host family, who have always supported me. And I want to thank Free to Run for providing me such an amazing Coach, Annie, who has been training me to be a better runner. I also would like to thank you for reading this website and for supporting me.
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