Later this month, our friend and ultra runner, Mimi Andersen (Marvellous Mimi), will embark on the race of a lifetime. From September 24th - October 25th, Mimi and fellow ultra runner Samantha Gash will run the 2,350km South African Freedom Trail. That’s the equivalent of running 64 marathons over 32 days! Earlier this summer she described her intense training schedule for us in a guest post, but we were excited for an update as the event approaches.
The Beginnings of the Freedom Runners Project
You might say the Freedom Runners Project started when Mimi (52) initially fell in love with South African soil. Or you might say it began when Samantha (29) first reached out to Mimi, bridging a relationship between two of the most powerful female ultra runners. Still, it was several years before Mimi and Samantha put their passions together and decided to tackle the 2,350km Freedom Trail as their next major feat. The final step was finding the right cause.
A Worthy Cause
Did you know that one in ten girls in South Africa are forced to drop out of school due to normal menstruation? Affordable sanitary products are simply not available, causing these girls to miss 4-5 days of school each month when they get their periods. They get further and further behind in their schoolwork and the majority eventually drop out completely. When Mimi and Samantha learned these shocking truths about daily life for many girls, they knew they had found a cause worthy of The Freedom Trail.
Training Update from Mimi
With awareness of such an important cause on the line, Mimi and Samantha are training tirelessly. The trail route is made up of dirt roads and tracks; crosses six mountain ranges, various wilderness areas and multiple national parks. Needless to say, Mimi’s summer has been filled with a variety of races and unique training methods. She shared a few examples with us:
“In July I ran 135 miles in Cyprus so I was on my feet for over 41 hours ([I was the] only person to finish the race and I set a new course record)… I have also been going to an Altitude Chamber once a week and running for 1.5 hours at an altitude of 3,500m. [It’s] very hard work as you can imagine but has been extremely beneficial.” When asked if she feels ready for the challenge, Mimi replied, “The real training will start while we are actually doing the run. Our bodies over the first two weeks will get used to running long distances each day and it will feel quite ‘normal’ to get up and run another 40-50 miles.”
We’ll take her word for it!
Track the Freedom Runners
Want to follow Mimi and Samantha on their journey? We’ll be sharing periodic updates on social media, but you can also track their progress online. Click here to see the live map that will showcase their location throughout the month-long journey.
Donate to the Cause
If you’re inspired by the Freedom Runners Project, there’s still plenty of time to show your support. Visit the Freedom Runners webpage to donate! For more information on the cause, the Freedom Trail route, or on Mimi Andersen and Samantha Gash, visit http://www.freedomrunners.org/.