As people everywhere pull on their running shoes to get fit this New Year, a group of women are running the same distances an expectant mother might have to walk to get medical care.
The purpose of their long runs is to raise awareness of the barriers to maternal healthcare and also raise funds in a bid to provide skilled healthcare to pregnant women and new mothers around the world.
“Running long distances is very similar to childbirth. You have moments when you aren’t sure you can keep going, but you do. Running long distances requires support, you need people there to ensure you have water and nutrition. Giving birth requires support, you need skilled providers to ensure you and the baby stay stable and the delivery process goes smoothly. In addition, we cover these miles so that mothers do not have to travel such distances to get the care they need. We run so they don’t have to,” explains Kristen, who works for Every Mother Counts, the maternal rights organisation founded by supermodel Christy Turlington.
The average distance that a woman has to cover in the developing world to access healthcare is five kilometres but many women will travel for much longer.
“The distance that I can cover with my running, raising funds and awareness for Every Mother Counts, directly impacts those women. Our funding brings care to those women, through mobile clinics, transportation to clinics, or helping to build clinics in rural areas so these mothers don’t have to travel as far. That’s all the motivation I need,” Kristen adds.
A new video has been made for Athleta’s Power of She campaign, which documents their running and fundraising efforts. It can be viewed here: