Mina Guli runs a marathon in Uluru, Australia, for the Run Blue campaign.
On Tuesday, the day before the opening session of the Conference, Ms. Guli reached the finishing line of her 200th marathon, arriving at UN Headquarters in New York, and handed over a flag emblazoned with the logo for SDG 6 – Sustainable Development Goal 6, which calls for everyone to have access to clean and safe water supplies – and covered with the signatures of people encountered during her campaign, to UN dignitaries. The aim of Run Blue is to draw attention to many of the challenges being tackled at the UN Water Conference, only the second of its kind, following the inaugural summit, which took place in Argentina in 1977. For many runners, taking part in a marathon is a challenge of a lifetime or, if they’re particularly keen, an annual test of endurance. Mina Guli is built differently: over the past year, she has been running four marathons of 26.2 miles each, every week, across the world, racking up a total of 200 long-distance runs, raising awareness of the global water crisis as part of her Run Blue campaign.
“I’m running 200 marathons in a year because the world still turns a blind eye to our worsening water crises,” said Ms. Guli. “I run ridiculous distances because it is completely ridiculous that billions of people still lack access to safe water and sanitation. I run to ensure that water and freshwater ecosystems are at the centre of global debates about food and energy security, climate adaptation and sustainable development – and to inspire real action.” A young girl in Zimbabwe drinks clean and safe water from a well point rehabilitated with the support of the UN. Mina Guli runs marathon in Istanbul, Türkiye, during the Run Blue campaign.