World renowned water campaigner, Mina Guli, today achieved a seemingly impossible feat by completing her 200th marathon in 1 year on the steps of the UN headquarters at the start of the UN Water Conference - the first global summit on water in 46 years.
Setting out on her epic journey exactly a year ago on World Water Day 2022, Mina ran 8440 km in 32 countries from Australia to Zambia - a distance greater than the length of Africa or equivalent to the distance from New York to Buenos Aires. It was all part of her global campaign to raise awareness about the scale of the world’s water crisis, inspire a global grassroots movement for change, and drive real action at this week’s conference.
Celebrating her extraordinary achievement, Mina Guli said “I was told that my goal of running 200 marathons in 1 year on the frontlines of the global water crisis was crazy, that it was impossible. But I did it. Hard, yes. Crazy, certainly. Impossible - no. And none of the steps that governments and businesses must take to solve the world’s water crisis are impossible either. Everywhere I ran around the world, people were calling for action to tackle the worsening challenges they face from too little water, too much water or too dirty water. We can’t let them down. This UN Water Conference is our moment. Let’s have the courage to make it count.”
Mina's last three marathons were also part of the largest ever World Water Run with tens of thousands of people participating in more than 195 countries and territories around the world. Collectively, they ran more than 470 000 kms - equivalent to 12 times around the Earth.
Mina Guli added “I ran in some of the world’s toughest places and most treacherous conditions - and there were some very hard times. But I was inspired to keep going by the people I met, the solutions I saw, and by the growing global grassroots movement of people calling for change. I am here in New York to make sure their voices are heard and to push governments and companies to make no more empty promises and paper pledges, but to commit to real action on water - and the rivers, lakes and wetlands that provide it. We can do hard things - so let’s challenge each other to do them.”
The world is facing a worsening water crisis. Two billion people still lack access to safe water and sanitation. Climate change is impacting weather and rainfall patterns, increasing risks to communities, cities and companies - from droughts and floods to pollution. Meanwhile, we have lost one third of the world’s wetlands and 83% of freshwater species populations since 1970. There is an urgent need to accelerate action to achieve progress on SDG6 (water and sanitation for all) and to invest in healthy rivers, lakes and wetlands - as they are central to tackling climate and nature crises, and driving sustainable development.
The Run Blue campaign’s goal is to raise awareness of these challenges, highlight solutions and drive water up the agenda of businesses, NGOs, governments and the public.