Meet Kadra Mohamed Dembil, an obscure athlete from an obscure country, racing for more than gold.
Today The Big Roundtable published a story about Kadra, a former member of Girls Run 2. She now runs for the Republican Guard team and we are happy to cheer her on as she pursues her goal of personal and national honor.
Click here to read the rest of Kadra’s story in The Long Run.
Last spring a group of girls and their running coach were inspired to support Girls Run 2. But how? They lived in Wisconsin and Girls Run 2 members live in Djibouti.
The girls are part of a national organization in the US called Girls On the Run and as part of their running (training for a 5k) they do a community service project. After reading about Girls Run 2, their teacher and coach Ms. Stevens told them about the Djiboutian running club. The American girls were excited to make this international connection and brainstormed how they could help, eventually landing on the idea of a bake sale and then donating the money to be used by Girls Run 2 to help cover school fees.
Below are some of the posters they designed to advertise. All told, the 3rd-5th graders raised over $200 for Girls Run 2, an amount that will keep seven Djiboutian junior high girls in school this year. Thank you Girls On the Run!
Djibouti’s 2014 National Championships began in Ali Sabieh on April 10 and ran every Thursday through May 15.
For Ayaan, Hamda, and Nasteeho from Djibouti Town, the trip to Ali Sabieh provided their first-ever glimpse of an actual track.
“Don’t cross the white lines,” Cintia and Fathia instructed the girls. “Don’t go out of your lane.”
They had never used starting blocks before, had no idea how far it was around one loop of the track, knew nothing about pacing or pushing or racing strategy.
In the 100-meters both Hamda and Nasteeho advanced to the semis and Ayaan placed second in the 400-meters, also advancing to the semis.
Three weeks ago team member Medina got a new eye. After a thorn punctured her eye almost ten years ago, Medina was blind in one eye. Apparently part of the thorn that injured her remained inside and her body tried to reject the thorn, slowly forcing it out. Medina suffered headaches and pain from the inability to fully close her eyelid and keep dust out.
After joining Girls Run 2, Medina’s running dramatically improved and she grew into one of the strongest runners, her stride graceful, long, and powerful. But she was hindered by the pain and self-consciousness.
Through Coach Cintia’s connections at Peltier Hospital, Medina was able to receive surgery to remove the damaged part. After the eye healed, the doctor fitted her with a prosthetic.
Pain-free and with a new-found confidence, Medina hit the roads again for training and is looking forward to returning to school in the fall, now able to ride the bus without people staring, able to study without headaches, able to run without pain.
“How Saucony Is Winning The Shoe Race By Inspiring The Human Spirit” is a fantastic article highlighting the Find Your Strong project of Saucony shoe company. The article talks about the Finding Strong film and highlights Coach Cintia Guzman and the Girls Run 2 team.
Along with running, Girls Run 2 coaches also teach the importance of good hygiene. In a dusty, hot climate infections can run rampant and girls are consistently reminded to wash their uniforms. This is challenging when water runs low and time consuming because all clothes are washed by hand but the girls are learning and this photo is evidence of the value they place on themselves both on and off the track.
January 23, 2014 there was a race in Djibouti Town, 5km for boys and 2.5km for girls. Eleven girls met at Cintia and Fathia’s house (7 in town from Ali Sabieh and had spent the night) for lunch and to get their numbers, then Fathia’s father used his bus to drive the team to the starting line at the Port de Pêche where they met four more girls from Ali Sabieh. These four had crammed in exams at school in the morning, then drove the two hours to town for the race.
This was only the second time the Djibouti members and the Ali Sabieh members met one another in a race and they were joined by eight girls from another local team and one foreigner, an American and the youngest runner.
The race got off to a strong start but one by one the newest runners faded in the heat of a shadeless, Djibouti afternoon. Some slowed to a walk, one climbed into the follow vehicle, another crumpled on the curb in tears, and one girl fainted. But, all girls except the girl in the truck and the girl who fainted eventually finished the race.
Racing in Djibouti requires the added skill of being able to manage the incredible, relentless heat and girls who have only been running one month haven’t had the time for their bodies to adjust to the intensity of racing, the emotional roller coaster and the toll on their bodies. Coach Fathia and Cintia said they were really happy with how all the girls raced.
There were thirty-one girls total, nine of them in the lead pack until the final half kilometer when five and then three broke away as the road curved away from the port toward the finish at the People’s Palace.
Khadra, Sabad, and Choukri hit the parking lot at full sprints. Choukri faded in the final thirty meters and Sabad out-kicked Khadra, edging ahead for the win by less than a second in 9:39 and Khadra in 9:40. Choukri finished a strong third, followed by Madina in fourth.
The top ten finishers were from Ali Sabieh, the young American can in 12th place, and the new girls from Djibouti Town finished strong and ready for another race.
Today in Ali Sabieh Girls Run 2 team members worked on plyometrics, jump-training, short sprints, and weight-lifting. Practice ended with a meeting with coach Fathia. Another lovely day of hard work and progress for Girls Run 2 in Ali Sabieh as they prepare for upcoming competitions.