While Rally for Rivers was outright a successful campaign with the help of politicians and celebrities doing their bit of work to create the awareness among people, somewhere in the United States, a campaign got the momentum much more than one would have ever thought.
Mina Guli is the CEO of Thirst, a non-profit that encourages young people to use water more sustainably. She’s also a water advocate and ultra-runner who decided to take on an epic challenge to shine a spotlight on the global water crisis.
The #RunningDry movement started in New York City on 4th of November 2018 to successfully complete 100 marathons in 100 days with a purpose of reaching out to each and every one of us to save water and join together to change the way we all use, consume and think about water.
The reason behind #RunningDry is to create awareness among people about our planet’s water resources are under extreme stress. Experts predict that by 2030 our demand for water will be 40% more than the supplies available.
The objective of #RunningDry is to create a global community of water-conscious citizens who care about water and are willing to act to avert the global water crisis.
Mina’s challenge started at the New York City Marathon on the 4th of November, before heading off to run across Europe (UK, France, Italy), Uzbekistan, India, China, Hong Kong, Dubai, the Middle East (Jordan, Palestine, Israel) and South Africa. She then heads to Australia before crossing the USA and finishing her 100-day journey back where she started in New York on the 11th of February.
In the process, after 62 marathons in 62 days, Mina ran so hard that she broke her leg. But that didn’t stop the movement because it made her stronger.
It’s not the first time Guli has pulled off something physically extreme: In 2016, she ran 40 marathons across seven deserts on seven continents in seven weeks. In 2017, she upped the ante and completed 40 marathons in 40 days.
Mina’s mental toughness towards the marathon made her say that marathons are “my way of representing just how big this water crisis is,” says Guli, an Australian corporate-lawyer-turned-activist who founded Thirst in 2012 to educate the next generation about the importance of water conservation. Her organization collaborates with over 1,000 schools, has hundreds of volunteers teaching its education programs and has graduated more than 1 million students from its programs.
“I talked to a lot of people about what it means to be committed to something and I realized that to achieve anything specially to achieve big things we need to be 100 per cent committed to them, and so the idea came up about running 100 marathons,” she says.
The response to her campaign hasn’t all been positive, Guli says. “I’ve had a lot of people tell me, ‘You’re not an athlete. How can you possibly do this? Nobody’s ever done it before. You can’t do it. Who are you to think you can run 100 marathons and change the world?’”
But she generally shrugs off the criticism. “There are a lot of people out there who will tell you the negatives. I think that it’s easy to listen to negative voices if you want to find excuses but nobody who ever changed the world listened to those excuses. Nobody who ever did a marathon listened to those excuses. Nobody who ever achieved their dreams listened to those excuses.
And her response to sceptics is to tell them “a couple of things,” she says. “The first is: Watch me. The second is: Yes, I’m crazy. But sometimes crazy changes the world.”
Looking back at the campaign, the number of people who enthusiastically turned up have been there through the thick and thins of climate changes and have been there for a cause to make the world a better place to live. And Mina Guli has been successful in impacting the lives of many through this campaign urging everyone to step up and act for the cause.