The Secret Marathon

A movement for equality


Inspired by a story of courage, a filmmaker and her legendary marathon mentor train and travel in secret to join the brave Afghan women who are standing up for equality and freedom, by running in the Marathon of Afghanistan.  


When the first Afghan woman stood up for her freedom and ran in the Marathon of Afghanistan, she started a movement for equality that spread around the world. Zainab’s story inspired legendary marathon runner, Martin Parnell, to imagine what his life might be like if his gender prevented him from going outside to run. Martin vowed to run in the Marathon of Afghanistan the following year to support Zainab, and partnered with filmmaker and first time marathoner, Kate McKenzie, to tell the story. To avoid making the marathon a target for terrorist attack, they must train, and travel to Afghanistan in secret, where they will uncover unexpected beauty, incredible hardships, and the amazing people who stand for change. This is the story of the brave Afghan women who are risking it all for the freedom to run.


The film is now complete, and we are applying for, and hoping for a world premiere in a major film festival in the fall of 2019. We are also seeking distribution at this time, and hope that the film will be readily available some time in 2020.


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. If you are interested in helping us to ensure this film reaches as many people as possible, we would love to hear from you.

Groups we believe in

The Marathon of Afghanistan is an incredible event. Beyond just being a marathon, it promotes equality and we love that.

The charity Free to Run uses the power of sports to help women and girls overcome the harmful effects of conflict and discrimination.

2019 update to our community

We are thrilled to announce that we have officially completed the film! After 3 years of ups and downs, trials and tribulations, we are done!

We will be applying to film festivals and searching for distribution over the next few months with the hopes of screening the film in the fall. Thank you to our incredible crew. Thank you to our amazing sponsors. Thank you to our ever growing community. It is only because of your hard work and support that we were able to get this documentary across the finish line. We are very excited to share it with you all soon!


The Secret Marathon Team

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