What a Difference a Year makes, when it's Full of Adventure

Posted by martin.parnell |
What a Difference a Year makes, when it's Full of Adventure

Just out of interest, I decided to look back, through my previous blogs, and see what I’d written about, this time last year. As it turns out, it was probably the one and only time I hadn’t actually posted one, as I was on my way back from Afghanistan. I had gone to the city of Bamyan, to run in the 2nd Marathon of Afghanistan, in support of a group of women and girls who wanted the freedom to run and be able to take part. 

While I was there I met a young university student, named Kubra, who had had her training curtailed due to a bombing at her school, several months earlier. The race was a grueling affair and she had some issues, but I ran with her and we managed to finish with-in the cut-off time. Kubra is now working for Free to Run, as Programme Coordinator. It’s an organisation that supports women and girls, in worn-torn countries, to pursue running and other sporting activities. 

Two weeks ago the 3rd Marathon of Afghanistan was held. This time there were 12 girls and women, supported by Free to Run, in the marathon and they all finished. Kubra was one of them.

On December 31st every year, I host a fund-raising event, my Annual Run/Walk. I invite people to come and run with me, anything from 2km to a full marathon.  On returning from Afghanistan, I contacted Stephanie Case, founder of Free to Run, and asked if the 2016 event could support the girls and women in any way. Stephanie suggested funding a camping and kayaking trip. So, on a cold wintry day in Cochrane, 120 runners and walkers headed out along theBowRiver. We raised $7,000. 

With me on theAfghanistan trip, was film director, Kate McKenzie and in March of this year, a trailer for “The Secret Marathon” documentary was released. We continue to seek funding for the film through donations, grants and corporate investment. We are planning to release the film in the spring of next year. 

Following my trip, I was introduced to the organization, Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, who promote the rights of girls and women to pursue an education and, in May, Sue and I attended their Gala evening and met some wonderful people who are really making a difference. 

In June I was a presenter at TEDx YYC. My topic was “Life is a Relay“and I talked about how I think life is like a relay race and we all, in the end, need to “pass the baton”.  On stage, at the end of my talk, I passed the baton to Gitti Sherzad, a young Afghan women who was planning a fund raiser for families traumatized by the May terrorist bombings in Kabul. Gitti’s fund raiser was held in September. “Pillars for Afghanistan” was an evening of Afghan music, dance, art and food and over $8,000 was raised for the families. 

All through 2017 I have been working on the manuscript for the final book in my “Marathon Trilogy”. The first two were “Marathon” and “Running to the Edge”, and so far, “The Secret Marathon” is on track for a September, 2018 publication date. 

But time marches on and I’m only six weeks away from the 8th Annual Run / Walk. This time I’m fund-raising to build an ice skating rink for the Afghan girls in Bamyan. 

It’s always interesting looking back, to see the path that you’ve traveled and now it’s time for me to look forward, to the year ahead. 

I wonder what I will be writing about, this time next year.

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