Free to Run - Empowering Women in AfghanistanFri Night Vid

© UKC News

In 2012, Canadian human rights lawyer and ultra-runner Stephanie Case was working for the UN in Afghanistan and fundraising for a local women's shelter via sponsored races. When women asked her about taking up running, she realised how the sport could empower women and girls in their ultra-conservative country and founded Free to Run, a non-profit developing female leaders in conflict regions through adventure sports.

This film follows Stephanie as she trains for and competes in the TOR450, the gruelling 450km Tor des Glaciers trail race in the Valle d'Aosta. In August 2021, Stephanie and the women in her care face a devastating challenge as the Taliban return to power in Afghanistan.

Stephanie fights to maintain Free to Run's operations and ensure the safety and wellbeing of the women and girls supported by the non-profit and - despite the emotional turmoil - surpasses her own expectations in the TOR450 just one month later.

"For other runners from other countries, when they run, because they have a very comfortable life, they want to challenge themselves and they start running, but for me as an Afghan girl when I run I escape from the challenges that are in my country." - Zeinab

Read our UKC article on more ways to help women in Afghanistan:

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