North Van resident marshals 3K run to honour Afghan women

A Lonsdale resident who has been championing women’s rights and education in conflict zones for more than two decades wants you to join her in running for the cause on March 7, the eve of International Women’s Day.

On Wednesday Lauryn Oates will add the role of race marshal to a resume that includes director at Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, where she managed education projects including teacher training, village libraries, and
literacy classes.

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The inaugural Secret Marathon 3K run/walk is intended to celebrate everyone’s right to be free to run. The event is scheduled to be held in 10 cities across Canada. In Vancouver, the run kicks off at the Running Room, 679 Denman St., at 6:30 p.m.

The event is named after the Marathon of Afghanistan, a women-only run in which the route is kept secret to avoid violent attacks. In recognition of the dangers faced by women in Afghanistan, the three-kilometre route in Vancouver will also be secret until just before the event.

After filming a documentary in Afghanistan entitled The Secret Marathon, Kate McKenzie and Martin Parnell were inspired to make a difference in their own country when they realized many Canadians who don’t feel safe running or walking at night, according to a press release for the event. Together with the Running Room and Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan they will launch The Secret Marathon 3K on the eve of International Women’s Day.

“In Afghanistan we witnessed something really special,” stated McKenzie. “Women and men came together in solidarity under extremely difficult circumstances to support the right that all humans should have to walk or run free of fear in their community.”

Raising funds and awareness through the Secret Marathon 3K will allow the story of Afghan girls and women running for freedom to be shared across Canada through Mckenzie and Parnell’s documentary, which is scheduled to be released this fall. 

“The goal of The Secret Marathon 3K is to celebrate our right to be free to run and walk in our community. Many women both here in Canada and in Afghanistan don’t feel safe to run at night or alone and we want to change that by bringing our community together to celebrate everyone’s right to be free to run or walk in their community,” said McKenzie. 

To register go to

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