UPDATE: Unfortunately, I did not get a space in this year's Half Marathon and thus won't be running with the team, but supporting them in spirit. :( :)
I continue to be grateful for your support in honour of the awesome team training for this half.
There was always an excuse - in Afghanistan, in Eastern Chad, in Sudan, in Eastern Congo, Lebanon, Syria or Saudi Arabia. The conflict settings in which I had chosen to work – and live – were definitely not the right kind of places to start a promising running career. At any rate, I was not a natural athlete – far from it.
I met Stephanie, the founder of Free to Run, in Kabul in 2012 and was taken in by her innate ability to push borders and raise enthusiasm. She got me thinking for the first time about how badly affected local populations were by the lack of sports opportunities. Trying to figure out how I could stay healthy in confining and potentially draining environments had taken up so much of my energy, that it never even occurred to me to think about others. And so it was really only when I returned to New York, after almost a decade of life ‘in the field,’ that I started looking on running as more than a chore – it became a privilege.
I am still not a natural athlete, and I still don’t have the urge to go running. But as I have been venturing out to face the New York cold to train for a half marathon (a long cry from my first 10 minute run), and as I moved to live near Central Park for my daily bouts of exercise and fresh air, I began developing a relationship to sports that I could never have imagined a few years ago. It has been a long time that I have felt so well-grounded and free. And so, I run because I can. And I am raising funds for Free to Run to allow others to experience some of the same freedom - and am ever so grateful for your support!