GirlSportWorks was very excited to be represented at the Movistar Half Marathon in Lima last weekend by one of our Project Managers, Kelly Jacobs. Not only was this marathon a great fundraising opportunity, but it also was an opportunity to represent our students and promote female athletics here in Peru.
In the days leading up to the marathon, training for this event was not only physically challenging because I had to train at an altitude of 11,000 ft in Cusco, but it was also mentally challenging training in an environment dominated by negative perceptions of female athleticism. However, explaining the fundraiser to our students and seeing their excited reactions definitely made the other challenges worth the effort. One of my most memorable runs through Cusco happened while jogging down one of the main streets, Avenida de la Cultura. While running past the University I noticed a small figure trailing behind me. I thought it was someone in a hurry or running to catch the bus, but after a minute I heard a small voice yelling, “Profe! Profe!” To my delight, the small runner was Pamela, one of our students from Virgen del Rosario, and I immediately stopped to say hi. She explained that she was with her mom selling food when I passed by and that she had been following me for a while just to say hello. When I told her what I was training for and why her eyes grew big and she gave me a big hug and wished me luck. The encounter was so endearing and a refreshing reminder of why this race was so important.
The race consisted of three distances—10k, 21k, and 42k—and drew a crowd of over 14,000 participants making it one of the largest in South America. Being part of a starting line this large was incredibly exciting and generated a huge feeling of camaraderie among people of all ages and backgrounds. In addition to the runners, this event drew thousands of spectators who lined the entire route throughout the city of Lima to cheer and offer words of encourage for the runners. Overall, this experience certainly served as a reminder of the uniting power of sport and its ability to bond people from all walks of life in one common goal.
On behalf of GirlSportWorks and all of our wonderful students here in Cusco, thank you to all who supported us in this fundraiser. We appreciate your ongoing collaboration in helping us to empower young women through sports!