While driving to work yesterday listening to the latest Marathon Talk podcast my ears pricked up at one of the news articles. Podcast host Martin spoke of a new marathon which had been run in Iran. His news story was about two women who ran the marathon despite authorities not allowing women to enter the race.
I immediately wanted to find out more. Here’s a Runners World article published on 13th April about the story that caught my attention. The two women who finished were Masoumeh (Mahsa) Torabi and a woman called Elham.
It seems women were able to sign up for the race but their entries were rejected! The authorities, not the organisers, prohibited women from entering. Mahsa and Elham decided they were going to run the race anyway! They started the race a couple of hours before the men. Both finished and both were given medals.
By way of the Runners World article I discovered Ultrarunner Girl and her extremely interesting blog post on the subject which gives a lot of detail. She tried really hard to have the European organisers of the race cancel the event on account of gender discrimination. They wouldn’t cancel 😦
I also found out that Ultrarunner girl founded the Free to Run charity. Awesome charity!
Free to Run is a nonprofit organization that uses running, physical fitness and outdoor adventure as a means of empowering and educating females from conflict-affected communities to overcome the harmful effects of gender, religious and ethnic discrimination. By creating and supporting an environment for women and girls to participate in sport and physical education, Free to Run aims to use the power of sport to change lives and communities in areas of greatest need.
It turns out that Mahsa Torabi is an ambassador for Free to Run. Read what she wrote about running the Iran marathon. So inspiring! She is running the Iran Silk Road Ultramarathon next month. Good Luck Mahsa!
It was really interesting doing this little bit of research. Reading the comments attached to Ultrarunner Girl’s post gave me even more insight.
I’ve no concept what it must be like to live in these two women’s shoes but from an outsider looking in what they did seems extremely courageous.
Next time I toe the line in a race I will think of them, I’ll be inspired by them and I’ll run my best. Because I can! Because we can!
Lets hope women are running the Iran Marathon as equals free from discrimination in 2017.