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Mina Guli is running 100 marathons in 100 days. Here’s why

"Even I can't really believe that I'm doing it," says Mina Guli.

Mina Guli is standing trackside of Melbourne's Botanic Gardens — "the Tan" as it is known to locals — and blends into the crowd with her activewear and runners.

The 3.8km city circuit is a popular course for urban joggers and dog walkers looking to escape their apartments and stretch their legs, and Ms Guli has come to join them.

Only, her goal is a little loftier and her distances a little more ambitious, to say the least.

For Ms Guli has just started her epic goal of running 100 marathons in 100 days. She has just knocked off New York.

One down, 99 to go.

Mina Guli after running the New York Marathon.

"I often think to myself, 'Why am I doing this?'" she said at the Tan last week, just days before boarding her flight to the US.

"I'm going to start in the US and then I'm going to run through Europe and through Uzbekistan.

"Then India, Hong Kong, China, the Middle East.

"I'm running from Israel, Palestine and Jordan through Ethiopia down to South Africa. Australia, Chile, Bolivia, Peru … and then across America to finish.

"It sounds crazy when I say it like this!"

Marathon runner Mina Guli running across snow in the Antarctic.

It may be crazy, but it's not out of character.

Ms Guli has proven herself an exceptionally driven battler before.

When she was younger she fell victim to a "prank gone wrong" when someone jokingly pushed her into a pool and seriously hurt her back. Doctors said she may never run again.

So Ms Guli started swimming, which led to cycling, which put her back on the path to running.

Since then, the lawyer and businesswoman has been a trailblazer, ticking off epic running goals and setting records along the way.

In 2016 she finished running 40 marathons across seven deserts on seven continents in seven weeks — a world first.

In 2017 she upped the ante — doing 40 marathons in 40 days.

A team of planners map out marathon runner Mina Guli's route. Marathon runner Mina Guli gets her gear prepared.

This run will be her most demanding yet. But she is driven by more than personal glory.

For Ms Guli, there is a greater motivation at play.

"I'm doing it for one reason, and that is to raise awareness about the water crisis," she said.

"I wanted to do something that made an impact. I wanted to do something that drew attention to the problem.

"And I wanted to do something that was so outside my comfort zone that would show people just how much we can achieve when we persevere."

Marathon runner Mina Guli drinks from a river in the Barmah National Park in Victoria. Marathon runner Mina Guli in Manaus, Brazil. Marathon runner Mina Guli wears a face mask while running through Shanghai.

Ms Guli cites research which finds that, globally, by 2030 there's going to be a 40 per cent greater demand for water than the supply of water available.

In her previous travels she's seen the impact of water scarcity, describing the difficulty she had confronting them.

"I've had some pretty dark times when I've been out running in different parts of the world," she said.

"I've met people, I've seen things that have been harrowing."

For her efforts and achievements, Ms Guli was named on Fortune Magazine's 2016 list of the 50 greatest leaders in the world, alongside the Pope and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Marathon runner Mina Guli gets treatment for her sore feet. Marathon runner Mina Guli rests her head on the table after a gruelling running schedule.

So that's the where and the why sorted, but what about the how?

How do you run so far?

"There are a couple of things that helped me," Ms Guli said.

"The first one is I used to think I had to go out there and break all the speed records and run really fast and I used to completely die.

"The reality is if you go out and just take it gently and slowly and you literally smell the roses or you go out with your friends and you make it fun and pleasant and it actually is not bad."

Original Article

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