Sidsel Lindberg Gregersen wrote -
In May 2016, I will run 50 km in the Salomon Hammer Trail in support of the organization Free to Run. The Salomon Hammer Trail is one of Denmark’s most challenging trail races, held on the rocky island Bornholm. I want to help Free to Run raise funds and awareness about the struggle that is ongoing for so many women and girls in conflict-affected parts of the world like Afghanistan.
I have been deployed with the Danish Armed Forces to Afghanistan three times. In connection with my work as a former soldier, I learned a lot about the scale of the struggle Afghan women experience daily. As in many other places around the world, they are fighting for the right to decide over their own lives and over their own bodies. I was so happy to learn that in October 2015, an Afghan woman completed a full marathon in her own country for the first time in history - a huge achievement and incredible progress for a country where women’s freedom is so severely restricted.
Zainab, the Afghan marathon runner, is an Ambassador for an international not-for-profit organization called Free to Run that works to empower women and girls through sport. Selected by Free to Run to participate in the Gobi March in China in March 2015, Zainab made history as a member of the first ever Afghan ultramarathon team. She has since used her running skills and ambassador status to encourage other Afghan women and girls to engage in sporting activities. Her marathon participation directly led to over fifty local high school girls participating in a special 10km race side event. Zainab’s efforts as well as the enormous challenges she has been facing in following her passion were highlighted in a recent Guardian article: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/the-running-blog/2015/oct/28/afghanistans-female-marathon-runner-defies-danger-to-go-the-distance.
For Afghan girls, participating in sports is an incredible step forward - and they need all the support we can give them. The right for everybody to decide over themselves is very important to me and a cause to which I’m deeply committed. I really hope you will help me raise money for this cause, and a country that means a lot to me. Free to Run has taken on an extreme challenge and needs all the help we can give them. Your donation will go directly towards funding initiatives that will create opportunity for Afghan women like Zainab to get one step closer to exercising their fundamental right - the right to freedom.
Please have a look at www.freetorun.org or visit them at www.facebook.com/freetorunNGO