Kubra started running back in 2015, when she was motivated by filming Afghanistan's first ultra-marathon team supported by Free to Run. The following year, she applied to be part of the second ultra team and participated in Racing the Planet Sri Lanka 2016 250km foot race.
Since then, she completed the Marathon of Afghanistan in 2016- 2019 and the Northern Afghanistan Marathon in 2018.
Although Kubra started out as a Free to Run participant, it became clear early on she had the potential to be much more. She's grown along with the organization- from participant, to part time Program Officer, to full time Program Officer, and now to Country Programme Manager. From training herself to run, to a team of 15, to overseeing 700 girls train annually, she has proven to be a dedicated and caring adult in all our participants' lives.
Last year, Kubra was signed up to run the 2018 New York City Marathon in Afghanistan on one of the military bases. Unfortunately, due a string of attacks that week and the security situation, the race was canceled. But there was hope! All who were registered to run that race received entry to participate in the 2019 NYC Marathon in New York.
It was a long shot, as Afghans have the "worst" passports in the world according to the World Passport Index, but how could we not try? By some stroke of fortune, Kubra has just finally been approved for a visa to the US to run in the 2019 NYC Marathon.
This is a huge opportunity for Free to Run and all our Afghan female runners. She has gone from running in the streets of Kabul with hairspray and knuckle dusters to protect herself, to helping Free to Run establish safe spaces for other girls to run in, and now will have the opportunity to run the world's most famous marathon and raise awareness for her sisters and fellow runners back home.
In order to get her there, we are looking for help in sponsoring Kubra's flight and accommodation costs. The money we raise beyond this will go back into the program to support women and girls like Kubra in both Iraq and Afghanistan to experience the power of running and develop themselves into community leaders.
Free to Run supports women and girls in areas of conflict through adventure sports to build their physical, emotional, and social well being to develop community leaders across ethnic, religious, and social lines. By safely and boldly engaging in outdoor activity in conflict regions through a combination of sports programs, life skills development, and community outreach, we help females to reclaim public space and change views about the roles they can (and should) play in society. To find out more, visit www.freetorun.org.