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Girls Gotta Run Ultra Relay: the race in support of women’s running in Ethiopia

Jennifer Lau of Toronto is heading to run a 100-mile relay in support of girl's running

Jennifer Lau of Toronto is heading to Ethiopia to participate in the first-ever Girls Gotta Run Ultra Relay. Girls Gotta Run is an Ethiopia-based running organization that is helping young women empower both themselves and their communities. The organization has organized a 100-mile ultra relay which features girls from the GGRF program and women from across the world. The relay begins at the peaks of the Bale Mountains and finishes in Bekoji, Ethiopia. The cost of the trip includes a $1,200 donation which goes toward sponsoring two girls and their families.

Lau is excited to run in the first-ever event. She says she wanted to participate in this relay because of the foundation’s mission. “I wanted to be part of a movement that helps empower young girls and provide them with an opportunity for success in life. It’s also something I can share with my community in Toronto.”

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Lau is a trainer at Nike Toronto who loves running and is excited to give back to the running community. “Not only has running helped me with my personal mental and physical health, but it has provided me with the opportunity to meet amazing people and create and participate in something bigger than running through movements such as this.”

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Challenged to run a 1/2 marathon 10 days ago, committing to it was equally terrifying and exciting! The race was cold, the hills were laborious and my internal dialogue was deafening. There were moments I didn’t think I would be able to finish as my legs grew heavier and heavier. The last kilometre up Bay Street was wild. Although the race was the loudest in that moment, I couldn’t hear anything but my breath and heart pounding in my ears. I suddenly experienced an unfamiliar feeling, I felt my body was going to fail me. This race taught me the true power of intention. How mental strength can overcome physical strength. I fought for every ounce of energy I had left, and began chanting FINISH IT repeatedly. 500m, 400m…. Completing this half marathon with a sub 2hrs time proves that “It’s only a crazy dream until you do it.” . . . . . #JustDoIt #niketoronto #nikerunning

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Lau is the only Canadian in the event, her mother is joining her on the trip to spectate and cheer. The organization is based in Bekoji which has produced runners that have won 16 Olympic medals in the past 20 years. GGRF says, “In Ethiopia, where the gross national income per capita is $400 and nearly 40% of the population lives below the international poverty line of $1.25 per day, running offers a means of building a life outside of cyclical poverty and having the honor of contributing to the Ethiopian national identity.” The foundation has operated out of Bekoji since 2014 and is the only of its kind in the area. If you’re interested in getting involved, visit here