The first woman to publicly complete a marathon in Iran, has come forward to speak about why she chose to run. Women were not officially allowed to participate in Iran’s first International Marathon last year, but Mahsa Torabi, 44, a soft drink company employee who lives in Tehran, said that she decided to run the race unofficially anyway. To evade possible police intervention, she arrived at the starting point for the marathon at 6 a.m.
“When I started my run the weather was dark — I hadn’t any number and no one was at the start point,” she recalled. “I started my run and I ran and ran and took photos and it was amazing — I really enjoyed it. It was like an unknown journey and a search for discovery in an unknown world.”
Five and a half hours later, she became the first woman to complete a public marathon in Iran.
“It was so important to me, so I tried to keep going with more energy to reach the final point with happiness and a smile,” she said. “When I reached to finish line I was so happy. I showed women can run in marathons and I showed women have strength. I really believe that nothing is impossible.”
Protesting a ban on female runners at Shiraz Marathon, Mahsa Torabi ran 42K two hours ahead of competition. pic.twitter.com/BrYlftqZ2g
— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) April 12, 2016
Torabi, a lifelong outdoorswoman who had previously scaled Mount Damavand, Iran’s highest peak, said that she had been forced, in the past, to ask police permission and bring an escort in order to ride her bike in public. Since running the marathon, she has also completed a 155-mile ultra marathon in the Iranian desert.
In April, Iranian women were allowed to officially participate in a marathon for the first time. They were, however, forced to run on an indoor track in a stadium, away from the eyes of men.
Read the full story at The New York Post.