It was a unique scene on November 19 at the Eau Claire Running Room in Calgary. Instead of the usual crowd of adult runners, the store was packed with Girl Guides. The energy was palpable as marathon running legend Martin Parnell and award-winning filmmaker Kate McKenzie announced that Girl Guides of Canada will be the new charity partner for The Secret 3K annual run/walk. The run takes place during the week of International Women’s Day and celebrates gender equality as well as creating safe spaces to be active. This year’s event will take place on March 4, 2020.
“While filming a documentary in Afghanistan,” Kate explains, “I was inspired by the brave women and girls who fought for equality and at times, risked their lives for the freedom to run outdoors. When I returned to Canada, I was struck by the stories of so many women who told me they didn’t feel safe to walk or run at night. The Secret 3K was launched to reclaim safe public spaces and champion gender equality here at home. We’re excited to have Girl Guides of Canada joining us because it will help us to reach one of our goals of making a difference here in Canada to promote safe and inclusive spaces. We want to empower young people to be part of creating that change.”
Girl Guides of Canada, the leading organization for girls and women in Canada, will receive proceeds from The Secret 3K events across Canada in 2020 as the event’s Official Charity Partner. Additionally, Girl Guide members will have the opportunity to gain valuable experience working with race organizers in selected locations as events are planned and executed.
“We are delighted about this partnership,” says Jill Zelmanovits, CEO, Girl Guides of Canada. “We believe that gender equality is paramount to achieve our vision of ‘A better world, by girls.’ When girls have a safe space where they feel accepted, they gain the confidence they need to make their own choices and take risks.”
The Secret 3K, now in its third year, was inspired by Kate’s documentary film, The Secret Marathon. The project saw Kate and Martin travel to Afghanistan to support that country’s first female marathoners, some of whom were Girl Guides. Since its inception, The Secret 3K has become an international movement with 16 affiliated events across Canada and 16 countries participating around the world.
Running Room Founder and CEO John Stanton is excited about the possibilities, saying: “Girl Guides and The Secret Marathon are engaging and empowering women as community leaders. Both illustrate the power of one person to have a profound impact on a community.”
For more information, visit thesecretmarathon.com/3krace