Free to Run’s Mazar-e-Sharif race report

This August, 80 young adults participated in Free to Run’s Mazar-e-Sharif Race. Mazar-e-Sharif is the third largest city of Afghanistan and the capital of the Balkh province.

40 females and 40 males competed in either a 21k, or a full 42k marathon starting at dawn. The athletes hailed from several community groups including the Mazar Olympic Team, Skateistan, and the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan

The runners persevered through many obstacles along the course. Some of the runners were hearing impaired and others did not have proper footgear for racing. Those who were hearing impaired thanked Free to Run for the opportunity to join the race, saying they are often excluded due to their disability.

Overall, the race was a huge success. It was supported and protected by the public, and the local security forces. Afterwards, Free to Run held a small ceremony where they distributed awards to the first, second, and third place winners for both males and females. The fastest marathon time for males was roughly 4 hours, and the first female finished within 6 hours.

A big thank you to all of the Free to Run supporters. Thanks to you and our local partners, we’re providing opportunities for young people to participate in public sports events. It’s life changing for these young women and we could not host race events like this without you!

Leah Anathan