Running one marathon is a truly impressive feat. Running 100 marathons in 100 days, however, is something else entirely, and that’s exactly what Mina Guli is in the process of doing. But she’s not training for the Olympics. Guli is putting herself through this grueling running schedule for a very specific cause: water. Her current project of completing 100 marathons in 100 days is in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme and sponsored by Colgate’s Save Water initiative.
“The goal of this run is to demonstrate what it means to be 100 percent committed to something,” Guli tells SheKnows.
But she doesn’t expect everyone to pick up and run a marathon — Guli says she’s asking everyone to take a few small steps toward saving water and understanding the scarcity of the resource.
As part of the initiative, Colgate is encouraging people to turn the faucet off while they’re brushing their teeth — a small action that could have a big impact. Despite the fact that 130 million Americans face severe water scarcity for at least one month every year, 42 percent of Americans admit to leaving the faucet running while brushing. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, this could waste up to 4 gallons of water each time you brush.
As the founder and ambassador for Thirst, Guli is a global leader in the conversation surrounding water consumption and conservation and was looking for a new way to make an impact. Currently, the aim of Thirst is to harness social media and technology to inform and inspire 14- to 24-year-olds to preserve water and educate them about the steps they can take to reduce their own water consumption.
Her upcoming 100 marathons in 100 days isn’t Guli’s first foray into ultra-distance running. In 2016, she ran 40 marathons across seven deserts on seven continents in seven weeks. Then in 2017, Guli ran 40 marathons in 40 days on six continents alongside six of the world’s great rivers in order to promote the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goal 6 — ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
And while she clearly has stamina, Guli says she’s not a natural runner and didn’t start running until the age of 22. It was then that she had an accident that left her with a severe back injury and the drive to prove she wasn’t going to let it get in the way of her goals.
“I wanted to show myself that I wasn’t going to be a cripple,” she says. “The only person who could set limits on me is me.”
Guli explains that running — especially when she has to work so hard at it — is a good parallel for solving global crises like water scarcity.
“There’s nothing easy,” she adds. “There [are] many reasons why we shouldn’t choose to pick massive goals — at the end of the day, they’re worth it. With a bit of hard work and resilience, you can achieve anything.”