Over the October half-term break, Vicky Burford, Nugent Housemistress, travelled to Bamiyan in Afghanistan to take part in the second Marathon of Afghanistan. The marathon was organised and sponsored by a company called Untamed Borders, and is the only mixed gender sporting event in the country. The international runners’ entry fees enabled the Afghans to take part.
They were joined by a group of girls who were supported by a company called Free to Run and in total, 265 people took part in the marathon and the associated 10k run. The course climbed a total of 772 metres and took place at an altitude of approximately 3000 metres, which made running pretty challenging at times.
To Vicky’s surprise, she was the first female home and finished the marathon in 4th place overall. She now holds the female course record.
Donkeys, small children, armed guards and international press followed the runners all the way, so they were never short of company! During the week, Vicky had the opportunity to visit some local areas, such as the lake at Band e-Amir, the site of the Buddhas which were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001, and she also found time to teach a lesson to some refugee children in a cave school.
She believes that, without a doubt, it was the biggest cultural, emotional and physical step into the unknown she had ever taken, but one which was definitely worth it. There can be a great deal of negative press about Afghanistan, but it is a beautiful country with extremely hospitable people. She is already planning a return visit in 2017 to defend her title.
Many people have kindly sponsored Vicky for completing this challenging marathon. She was raising funds for Cancer Research and Project 150. If anyone would like to show their support for Vicky’s chosen charities please visit: Vicky Burford – Marathon of Afghanistan