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Global Running Day: Running Towards Education for All Girls

Today on Global Running Day people all over the world are celebrating the joy, passion, and sometimes pain of running. Running is an easy way to connect people all over the globe, and help them accomplish numerous goals, even goals like access to girls’ education. One person who will log a few miles today is Anna Robbins, a champion for girls’ education who is raising money for CAI during her first half marathon at the Rock n’ Roll Marathon Series in Philadelphia, PA this fall.

Anna is participating in our Run for Girls’ Education fundraising program. In exchange for an entry to the half marathon, she’s set herself a goal of raising $750 to go to CAI’s overseas programs.

For Anna, running for CAI allows her to marry the two things she is most passionate about, running and creating access for girls’ education. “When I decided I wanted to run a half marathon and learned I could run one with a charity bib, I knew I wanted to do my first half that way,” she says. “I looked up organizations that shared my passion for education and I found CAI.”

 

Global Running Day Passion Begins Early

Anna caught the running bug early. It gave her a sense of direction and empowerment, and she’s seen first-hand how it fosters confidence, focus, and perseverance in girls.

“I have always been a runner. I love that running feels so good and it’s something anyone can do if they want to,” says Anna. “Running has taught and continues to teach me so many life lessons such as discipline, patience, and pacing myself in all aspects of life.”

“I fell in love with races when I was in 6th grade. It was my first year of track and field,” she continues. “I grew up in a small farming town and we only had an old dirt track that kicked up clouds of dust with every step. But I was fast! I was recruited as an 8th grader to run for a city school team. I ran all through high school and part of college.”

Anna was a sprinter, so she gave it her all for shorter distances. “Running more than one mile sounded terrible to me! It wasn’t until I stopped competitive sprinting in college that I decided I wanted to try to learn to love long distances. This will be my first half marathon, and I’m super thrilled.”

 

Turning Running into a Path to Help Girls

As her passion for running grew, Anna cultivated a desire to help other young girls gain confidence and learn persistence. In college she spent a semester in Washington D.C. working for an organization called Teens Run DC. Later while living and working in Utah, she worked with Girls on the Run (GOTR), a program that uses running to inspire girls to be joyful, creative, healthy, and confident. She still volunteers for the program today.

“I love the missions of these programs. I love that you can teach youth life-skills through running. I also am a huge advocate of education. I feel like the best way to learn anything is through experience,” she says.

Over the years her passion for educating girls grew. She spent a summer in Uganda working with another international women’s empowerment organization, Days for Girls, and is now pursuing a master’s degree in education with a program called Urban Teachers, which prepares new teachers to succeed in urban schools and helps these areas find quality teachers who can negotiate the challenges of these schools.

“I believe education has great power. If a girl is educated, she is empowered. The more educated women we have in this world, the stronger we will all be,” she says.

Global Running Day

Anna (second from left) has worked to help empower girls and teens through running for several organizations. Now she’s helping CAI through a fundraiser for girls’ education.

Fundraising Brings Her Closer to The Cause

Fundraising for causes through races, dinner parties, private events, and many other avenues is on the rise. Many people feel that holding a fundraiser brings them closer to the cause than a regular donation. This is one of Anna’s motivations for running the race.

“I want to make a difference in this world,” she explains. “I was told once that the only way to make a difference in the world is to be different. I can’t just sit on the sidelines and tell people how the world should be. I want to show them. I need to show them.”

Sometimes tackling large issues like the lack of access to education for girls can seem daunting and can make people feel powerless. By hosting a fundraiser based on activities you already love to do can combat this feeling. For people like Anna, it’s a way to show the world the change she’s creating for the future.

“I hope that by doing this, I will inspire others to do the same. I hope to create a ripple effect of goodness,” she says.

Happy Global Running Day to Anna and all the runners out there. If you are interested in running your own race for girls’ education check out our page. We have bibs for the San Francisco Half Marathon and the Rock n’ Roll Marathon races across the country.

If you’re not a runner but want to host your own fundraiser, we’ll help you set something up. Contact Alanna Brown for more information at abrown@centralasiainstitute.org

To help Anna reach her goal, you can visit her fundraising page or follow her journey on her blog, She Runs This World. Good luck in September Anna, from us and from all the students in Central Asia.