Why a Virtual Marathon?
Our current situation around the world is unprecedented. The COVID-19 crisis has shut down travel, businesses, education, and interaction just about everywhere on Earth, including the final 2 marathons I had planned for this project. While this is no surprise (and certainly for the best!), it poses a new challenge for Run to Reach: how can I finish my goal of running 30 marathons in 30 countries before my 30th birthday this June? After much consideration, I’ve replaced my 29th marathon in Greece with a virtual marathon, and I welcome you to run with me!
What is a “Virtual Marathon”?
For this virtual marathon, I’m asking runners across the globe to join me on May 31st and run a distance of their choice. I know there are lots of limitations on where we can run now—closed parks, limited time allowed outside, or no access to gyms or treadmills—but that’s why this race can be completed however you see it. Any time on 5.31.2020, run whatever distance is comfortable for you, wherever you can! My goal is to have 30 countries represented in this race, so share with your runner friends worldwide!
Why Opportunity Fund and Young Women’s Trust?
The current financial situation around the world is difficult for everyone. But with so much of the population following safe practices and staying home, this burden has fallen heavily on small businesses, especially those owned by women. Opportunity Fund is a US-based organization whose response to COVID-19 has been to make sure that these individuals and their livelihoods stay supported in this time of need. Woman and minority small business owners are much less likely to apply for loans from banks, and when they do, they ask for less than their white or male counterparts. Even still, they’re much more likely to be denied—only 4% of small business loans go to women. That’s where Opportunity Fund comes in—they fill this gap, with 32% of their loans going to women and 86% to minority members. For ever $1 loaned, $2 are generated in economic activity, and since 1996, Opportunity Fund has invested $440 million in small businesses across the country! I’m really pleased to be able to support this initiative and share their story as part of Run to Reach.
This time around, I’ve decided to support not just one but TWO different organizations, and that’s why I’ll be partnering additionally with the Young Women’s Trust in the UK. They make it their mission to economically support women ages 18-30 in times of crisis, working to “unlock women’s potential,” “smash career stereotypes,” “value women’s unpaid work,” and “build equal workplaces.” In the midst of the current pandemic, their work has far from stopped: beyond continuing to support their target population, Young Women’s Trust has drafted a petition to the national government to ensure that the rights and support of women is maintained, as well as acting as a resource for vulnerable populations to be in touch with the right service providers in this time of need. Again, I’m grateful for the opportunity to spread the word about and directly support these efforts, which are doubtlessly becoming more and more crucial by the day.
I can’t wait to run together, virtually, on May 31st!