Raising Awareness: Women for Women International

Yes, I must be crazy.  This weekend I am doing a 6k, hot on the heels of my first ever attempt at a 5k.I signed up for the La Parisienne race in about April.  The story (why I signed up) is a bit circuitous, but in 2008 I participated in the Rallye des Gazelles (the women’s only navigational rally through Morocco, you can read more on my rally blog).  I followed the 19th edition of the rally (March 2009) online, and after it ended, the Gazelles (past participants) began to circulate calls for a gazelle team to participate in the La Parisienne in September.  We would all don our rally vests (the gilet) and run Paris, connected by our unique experiences in Morocco, with only our compass, ruler and maps to guide us. My rally experience was life-altering.  The women I met on the rally were incredible.  Paris is amazing.  Without hesitation, I signed up.La Parisienne is basically the Paris version of what I did at Hyde Park on September 6th – a women’s only race through central Paris, with the beneficiary being (just like the UK event) breast cancer research.  The event draws 15,000 participants, but unlike the UK Women’s Challenge races, the sights will be the famous landmarks of Paris.  And the event entails a full weekend of activities.  I can’t wait!I had thought when I signed up in April that I would “be there” with my running.  But I am not “there”, yet.  Rather this weekend will be another step along my journey to an Olympic distance triathlon, which will involve 10k, and another chance to “feel” the distance.  I am not sure what that will “feel” like, as I have a sore right ankle and have been taking two weeks between 5k efforts, and this time I have only given myself one week… But I do know how I “feel” mentally – excited! I also knew that the race would give me the opportunity to get out and wear my rally gilet.  The gilet is special – it is the mark of the Gazelle.  We lived in it, night and day, at all times during the rally (penalty points for not being in the gilet!).  Pockets galore full of goodies (compass, pens, keys, cereal bars).  My gilet was still in the ziplock bag I packed it in after the rally (rally secret – all clothes packed in ziplock bags to prevent sand getting into everything).  I got it out and washed it this summer, so the orange looks orange and not brown, for La Parisienne.  Wearing my gilet will give me another opportunity to spotlight Women for Women International. When we did the Rallye des Gazelles, we put the Women for Women International logo on our truck, and on our gilet, as a way to raise awareness for the organisation. That’s me, sporting my gilet and the WfW logo, looking out over the dunes of Merzouga (March 2008)Women for Women International provides women survivors of war and conflict with the tools and resources they need to rebuild their lives, families and communities.  Through their efforts, women are educated, learn skills, and re-establish livelihoods.  Their work is truly inspiring.  I am proud to run wearing the WfW logo.I have asked WfW to activate my donation link again, so that if you feel like it, you can contribute to their efforts.  Even a small gift can make a difference – especially at the moment as WfW has a matching programme for all gifts made between September 8th and October 31st.  To give you an idea of how your support is put to work: $15 helps a woman in Rwanda start a savings account to fund her own business; $45 teaches a woman in the Democratic Republic of Congo how to read and write; $60 buys 10 health kits for women in Afghanistan – the health kits include bandages and iodine and allow the women to provide their families with basic healthcare; $200 provides a woman in Bosnia and Herzegovina or Afghanistan a micro-credit loan; $250 provides 12 women in Nigeria with rights awareness and leadership training… As always, thanks for your support!

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