I’m Rafiza and I started running around 5 years ago. My first race was a 1km fun run in August 2015. At the time, entering a full marathon, let alone training for and completing one, had never crossed my mind. When I did finally find the confidence to sign up for a longer race, the reality of the training necessary to prepare for such an event quickly dawned on me.
I'm a mother of three children with a full-time, demanding job. I live in Malaysia, where the heat and humidity make long training runs very challenging. We typically start very early to beat the heat - I see a lot of dawns! There have also been occasions where I have been harassed by motorists in the streets, unfortunately not an uncommon occurrence for female runners in Kuala Lumpur. However, none of these things have ever stopped me from lacing up my running shoes and getting out for a run.
In 1967, Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to officially enter and complete the Boston Marathon. Kathrine registered using the gender neutral initials ‘K.V’, allowing her to circumvent the race’s screening process designed to reject female entries. Running under the now iconic bib number 261, her run was not without incident. Officials attempted to stop her race and she encountered significant other challenges. However, Kathrine changed the game for female runners and in 1972, women athletes were officially allowed to enter and compete in the race.
I dedicate my Boston 2020 run to the ethos of Kathrine Switzer and to all the women out there who are fearful or hesitant to take up running for whatever reason. I urge you all to believe in yourselves: take that first step, enjoy the journey and you’ll never look back! The dedication also goes towards the people around me: my family especially Andrew and the kids, the Coconutters Running buddies, friends, neighbours and colleagues who constantly provide the motivation and encouragement for me to continue my passion.
❤Please support Fearless 261 and its cause. Any donation will be much appreciated and will go towards activities and initiatives designed to empower more women and girls through running 🏃🏽♀. We have nothing to fear in the pursuit of our life goals 💪🏼! Thank you in advance for your generous support and much appreciated contribution.
Yours, Fearless Fiza for Boston 2020,
Our 261 Fearless Mission:
· To empower women through running
· To inspire, motivate and educate women globally, helping them find the joy of running through our non-competitive, judgment-free 261 running program
· To help provide running opportunities for women, independent of social, religious or geographical background
· To bring women around the world together through a supportive network and share strength with each other
Through these actions, 261 Fearless breaks down the barriers of geography and creates a global community for women runners of all abilities to support and talk to each other, encouraging healthy living and a positive sense of self and fearlessness.
To empower women, education is key. 261 Fearless, Inc. uses the funds raised to educate women throughout the world to become certified 261 Fearless Coaches, continuously providing them with high quality training and support. In addition, funds are used to:
· support certified 261 Coaches to establish and operate local 261 Clubs where they bring the 261 Fearless mission to their communities, supporting women as they take their first steps in running. These local clubs help women find their joy in running, live a healthy life, become empowered and raise their self-esteem through running.
· provide virtual and real networking opportunities – events, conventions and/or gatherings - for 261 community members to exchange and learn from each other, in turn breaking down barriers to help them be fearless.
Our main goal is to bring our 261 Education Program and 261 Club Model of social, non-competitive running to women all over the world, especially to those who still live in fearful situations. The creation of 261 communities for women leads to positive and fearless transformations.
Learn more about 261 Fearless at www.261fearless.org
Thank you for supporting the 261 Fearless community!