It should come as no surprise to anyone who reads this blog that the athletes I admire the most are not only the ones who kick ass at their sport, but are also the ones who use their sport as a platform to give back.
I try to emulate that which I admire, which is why I am using the Boston Marathon as an opportunity to raise money for Free to Run. Free to Run is a non-profit organization that uses running, physical fitness and outdoor sports as a way of empowering girls and women in conflict zones.
Right now they do most of their work in Afghanistan, but according to their site, they have plans to expand into South Sudan. You can see a list of the programs they’ve established on their site, everything from training and supporting the first Afghan women’s ultramarathon team to creating yoga and boxing clubs for domestic violence survivors in Kabul. All of it is aimed towards creating a better world by helping girls and women take ownership of their bodies through sports and fitness.
In short, Free to Run is the literal embodiment of everything that inspired me to write this blog in the first place. And that’s why I’m raising money to support them.
It’s fitting that I use the Boston Marathon as my hook for fundraising, as there’s no other sporting event that holds quite as much significance for American female endurance athletes.
Women like Bobbi Gibb and Kathrine Switzer didn’t let preconceived notions about what was ladylike and proper keep them from testing their physical limits on one of the most legendary race courses in all of distance running. Now, forty years later, women make up more than half of all distance runners in the U.S. We’ve changed the face of running, and along the way, running has changed us.
The Boston Marathon was once a symbol of the limitations put on female athletes, but now it’s a symbol of what’s possible for female athletes. I think it’s only right that I use this opportunity to try to help other women and girls have the kind of opportunities others have afforded me.
That’s why I’m asking everyone who reads this to contribute to my fundraising efforts for Free to Run. I’m trying to raise $1,000 by the time I toe the line in Hopkinton on April 18, and I hope you will join me in making this happen. Because I believe in what Free to Run is doing, and I want to do my part to ensure they can continue to do it.
And just so you know, my racing fee has already been generously covered by Kennedy Law Racing, and I’ve already paid for my travel expenses, so 100% of the donations will go to support Free to Run’s programs.
If you’d like to donate – and I sure hope you will – you can do so by clicking here.