The Secret Marathon

a 90 minute documentary


Inspired by a story of courage a young woman and her legendary marathon mentor train in secret for the Marathon of Afghanistan, only to uncover that for the runners, this marathon is much more than just a race.


When legendary marathon runner, Martin Parnell, had a life threatening blood clot he was inspired to recover and run again when he read about the first courageous Afghan woman to participate in a marathon in her own country.  He invited young filmmaker, Kate McKenzie to join him in documenting the journey and trained her to run her first marathon.  Training and preparing in secret to avoid making the race a target for terrorist attack, they journey together to Afghanistan. There they meet several runners along the way, each with their own obstacle to overcome, each determined to support the dream that everyone should be free to run.


The expected completion date for “The Secret Marathon” is 2019.


Our goal is to see this film live on after film festivals and screenings as an educational resource.  We would like to develop a film study for students that allows them to explore issues of equality and gender as well as thinking about the kinds of health and fitness goals they would like to set for themselves. It is our hope that the film will inspire the next generation to be leaders who are passionate about making the world a place where everyone is free to run.


We were able to go to Afghanistan through the generous partnership of telecommunications company, Viiz, but that was only just the beginning. We are currently looking for partners to help us finish production and start post production on this incredible documentary.


We are excited to be partnered with The Marathon of Afghanistan and the charity Free to Run who uses the power of sports to help women and girls overcome the harmful effects of conflict and discrimination.  To learn more about Martin's efforts to raise money for athletic facilities in Bamian click here

An update to our community

To our partners, those who have donated, our community, and to all of those interested in seeing the incredible story of the marathon of Afghanistan and the women that run in it. We would like to give you a little update on why the film won’t be coming out in 2018 as we had originally hoped, but will instead be finished in 2019, at which point we will be applying for film festivals around the world.

The journey of this film has had many ups and downs, twists and turns, setbacks and leaps forward, both for the filmmakers and those documented. Earlier this year we were on track to having a short film (44 minutes) ready in time to apply for film festivals. It was at this time that we heard about some on going threats and dangerous situations that some of the people in the film are experiencing. While these situations are unrelated to the film itself, the safety of our friends, colleagues, and those documented is our highest priority. So after much discussion, and at their request, we have removed some stories from the film.

This obviously changed things for us quite drastically. Not only with our timeline, but in reinvigorating the importance of this film and it’s message. These are stories that should be told. There is change needed in this world, and that doesn’t happen without awareness.

With that in mind, we have decided to add some other stories back into the film, as well as adding some completely new animated segments. We feel this is the safest way to tell the stories of those who cannot share their story themselves. We will of course be keeping in close contact with everyone in the film to make sure they are comfortable with our story, and our animated pieces will in no way reference anyone specifically. For the animation, we have written a new story of a fictional character that after much consultation and consideration, we, and our Afghan colleagues, feel represents the experience of many Afghan women interested in sports.

As it stands we are still re-editing the film and are moving forward with the animation process. While this may feel like a setback at first, we want to assure you that the film is on track to be better than we could have ever hoped. The stories we are telling are incredible, and the animation story feels like it’s really tying the whole film together. It really is amazing the creativity that can come from limitation.

As it stands, we are not going to re-open any campaigns to raise additional funds. Considering we completed our crowdfunding goals, we feel this would be unfair to the community of donors we have already built. However, the option to donate will remain open on our website and any additional donations/partnerships will help cover our additional editing and animation costs moving forward.

Thank you all so much for your patience and understanding as we work towards creating the best possible version of The Secret Marathon film. We are excited with how it’s turning out and can’t wait to show you all in 2019.

The Secret Marathon Team

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