The Marathon of Afghanistan takes place in Bamian province, a magical mountainous hidden valley suspended in the midst of the Hindu Kush in central Afghanistan. The astonishingly beautiful valley, a UNESCO world heritage site,
is recognised as one of the safest provinces in the country and remains almost completely untouched by violence.
The inaugural marathon took place in October 2015 and was the first international marathon to be run in Afghanistan. This first race was a reconnaissance trip, ahead of the 2016 edition which is planned for this autumn.
Around 120 runners took part in the marathon and associated 10-kilometer race, including Zainab who became the first Afghan woman in history to complete a marathon within her own country.
The entry fees raised from charging international runners means we have enough money (just!) to organise a small event as we did in 2015. However, the marathon has inspired many Afghans to take up running and we have many, many, people who would love to compete. Men and women from across Afghanistan who are at this moment training hard and want to race. We simply do not have the funding to allow them all to compete at the moment.
And so we gratefully accept all donations that will allow us to invite up to 300 Afghan runners to compete in the Marathon and associated 10km race free of charge, and to provide transport, accommodation, food and support for them. This is particularly essential for the female runners - it is not always easy for women to travel alone in Afghanistan.
||If you would like to support the 2016 race, click the button to donate online, or you can visit our fundraising page at Generosity.com. Every donation counts and all donations are very gratefully received. Thank you for your support.
Video courtesy of The Guardian Newspaper.
We are offering a unique opportunity for a small number of adventurous runners to travel with us for the 2016 race. Given the fluid security situation in Afghanistan, only limited race information is currently detailed
on this website. If you wish to join us, then register your interest
to find out more.
We welcome runners from Afghanistan and beyond. Adventure travel company Untamed Borders
are offering travel packages for international runners.
SORRY! All travel packages arranged by Untamed Borders have now sold out for the 2016 event. However, if you are interested in joining next year's race, then please register your interest to find out more.
The Marathon of Afghanistan has been set up as a non-profit organisation and the race is free for local Afghans to enter. All race entry fees collected from international runners are used to fund the cost of arranging
the marathon. Any surplus funds will be distributed to local charitable causes.
The Cultures of Resistance Network have generously provided funding to enable runners from all major cities of Afghanistan to compete in
the 2016 race, making it a truly national event.
Without this assistance, many runners could not afford to travel to or take part in the race. We are very grateful for their support.
You can learn more about the Cultures of Resistance Network and what they do on their website at www.culturesofresistance.org.
We are working closely in the region with Free to Run, a non-profit organization that provides sports opportunities for
women and girls in Afghanistan and other areas affected by conflict.
The Central Highlands Region where the marathon is taking place serves as the center of Free to Run's programs, which include hiking clubs for female students at the high school and
university level. Through running, fitness and outdoor adventure, Free to Run seeks to empower women and girls, changing lives and communities along the way.
Zainab, who became the first Afghan woman to run a marathon in her country, completed the race with a Canadian and a Belgian woman from Free to Run as support.
You can learn more about Free To Run and what they do on their website at www.freetorun.org.
Team members James Bingham, Gull Hussein and James Willcox have extensive experience of organising trips and expeditions to Afghanistan and other remote locations.
Click here to read more about the team