The Secret 3K celebrates gender equality with virtual event

On Wednesday, March 3, 2021, The Secret 3K will take place in Kingston, and around the world. During the week of International Women’s Day, runners will lace up to show support for everyone’s right to run free, the organization said in a press release.

An award-winning documentary film, The Secret Marathon, inspired The Secret 3K four years ago. The documentary tells the story of the first women in Afghanistan to run a marathon.

“While filming a documentary in Afghanistan, I was inspired by such brave women and girls who fought for equality and, at times, risked their lives for the freedom to run outdoors,” shared Kate McKenzie, the film’s Co-Director and Producer. “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 right here in Canada. The Secret 3K was launched to reclaim safe public spaces and champion gender equality here at home.”

Participants of The Secret 3K run to celebrate gender equality and safe and inclusive spaces, according to the release. This year the event will be entirely virtual, allowing anyone from anywhere in the world to participate.

“The Secret 3K has always had both a local and global focus,” said Tarra Williamson, incoming National Race Director here in Kingston. “So having every province across Canada participate for one global message of removing barriers for women through sport has been incredibly inspiring. Being able to partner with the Marathon of Afghanistan is incredible given this is the event that started our story. ”

As one of the 13 marquee locations, Williamson says Kingston has always been a leader in registrations. “This is a testament to our community,” she said. “2020 marked our highest participation to date, with 140 runners and over 200 in attendance at our local event.”

When asked if The Secret 3K has a usual route through town, Williamson said the route changes each year.

“The reason the event is called The Secret 3K is to honour the Marathon of Afghanistan,” she shared. “They had to keep their route a secret until the day of because of the threat of terrorists. To honour the people there and to draw focus to the fact that people aren’t safe to run everywhere, we keep our route a secret until the day of.”

“We do partner with The Running Room, so they always make sure our routes are well-marked and we have a team of race officials helping along the way. And we always end up at the Running Room on Princess Street,” she added.

The goal of The Secret 3K is to raise awareness about issues of equality, but it is not a charity. The Afghan Sports Trust is a registered charity in the UK whose work supports the Marathon of Afghanistan. In addition, one third of the race fee goes towards supporting the Marathon of Afghanistan, Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, Canada Girl Guides261 Fearless and subsidized school screenings of The Secret Marathon.

“Our Official Charity Partner is the Marathon of Afghanistan and we are very excited that donations raised will go towards an electronic timing system for the race. This will allow significantly more women and men, girls and boys to be able to take part in the event and run for freedom and equality,” said Martin Parnell the film’s Co-Director.

To register, or for more information visit The Secret 3K website. For details on the documentary, or to request a screening, visit The Secret Marathon website.

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