Sunday, November 3, 2019 marked the 49th rendition of the ever popular New York City Marathon, which boasts about 50,000 dedicated runners who race from Staten Island to eventually finish in Central Park. Each year, the marathon offers a unique opportunity for guaranteed entry through support of a charity partner like Soccer Without Borders. This allows runners to show support for causes that are close to their hearts, while pushing toward their personal running goals.
This year, SWB proudly accepted fundraising support from ten passionate marathon runners, eight of which ran for the SWB Team and performed magnificently on the day. We recently heard from one such runner, Natasha Qidwai, who has added yet another level to her already enthusiastic involvement with SWB. Natasha sits on SWB’s Boston Advisory Board, and works frequently as an Assistant Coach at our East Boston location. When asked about why she chose to run in support of SWB, it was this coaching experience that Natasha cited as one of her primary motivations, describing how she has “seen SWB’s impact firsthand on our participants’ manifest in promoting healthy habits, improving athleticism, increasing positivity, fostering personal growth as an athlete and as young women/men, encouraging openness, driving self-acceptance, teaching tolerance, and understanding the importance of being part of a team.”
Natasha described further how “being a part of a team at a young age when one is growing up in a society where one is a minority is vital in order to learn how to navigate in the face of adversity.” SWB programs put specific focus on this inclusive team-based mindset without exception.
Considering the oftentimes intimidating task that running a marathon can be, Natasha expressed how the mentality of the SWB participants with whom she had worked, lent her strength and confidence in the face of the challenge. She shared that “in the same way that our participants can confidently step onto a soccer field for the first time in front of strangers and give it their all, I can run a marathon surrounded by tens of thousands of strangers and not be held back by the fear of anything. I ran for SWB because I love the work that we do with our youth, and I would run again.”
SWB is proud of each of our NYC Marathon runners’ dedicated participation and we are grateful for their support of our work. Please stay tuned for application information on how to get involved, if you would like to run for SWB in 2020.