Why are you doing this?
I’m running 100 marathons in 100 days around the world for one reason: water. I want to inspire people to commit to water saving and become part of a global movement of water-conscious citizens. We need to make saving water so famous, it's not just the right thing to do, it's the only thing to do.
Are you really running 100 marathons in 100 days?
Yes! I’m running 26.2 miles per day for 100 consecutive days. Along the route, I’m encouraging local water activists to join me in my runs, as you’ll see lots of photos posted to social media.
How is this humanly possible?
Anything is possible! I have an amazing team supporting me on the way - a podiatrist and physio with me every day, and I’m very careful to get the right amount of rest each day, and to spend an hour stretching. I’ve also been training for months, and I managed to run 40 marathons in 40 days last year, so this is just two and a half times that…
Are you coming to my city?
Take a look at the map on www.minaguli.com to see if I’m running through your part of the world… And join me if you can! If you sign up for my mailing list we’ll let you know when we’re in your part of the world.
Can I run with you?
Yes please! If you are in any of the cities we are visiting please watch my social media channels to see what dates we will be there, and sign up for our mailing list. I would love to run with you.
What motivates you?
The people who I meet both in person and via social media along the way are definitely my biggest motivators. It also helps knowing that what I am doing will hopefully be able to make a real impact on the world and inspire people to change their behaviour and understand that every drop counts.
When everything is going wrong, the thing that I think about is the kids and the next generation. I really want to make a better world for them. I want to leave them with a world that has enough water for everyone forever, so that their dreams and their aspirations are not affected by limitation of natural resources… their dreams and aspirations are limited only by their capability to achieve them.
I want a world that’s better than the world we have now, I want a world where they can do anything. And I also want to show them what it means for one person to stand up and say: “I can do something that is so outside my comfort zone. I can do something that will really change the world.” Because I believe that all of us are capable of that. So, when it gets tough – and there have been some tough moments already – that’s what I think about.
Why are you so passionate about water?
Once I understood the enormity of the global water crisis, I felt I had to do something about it. The world is facing a projected 40% shortfall between supply and demand for water by 2030 – just 12 years from now.
The signs of stress are already there. 40% of people around the world right now live in places suffering from water shortages. And over half the world’s population experiences water scarcity at least one month per year.
It doesn't have to be like this. Technology, behaviour change and infrastructure solutions are available. So - what's the real problem here? Poor awareness of the problem - its urgency and scale - and a lack of prioritisation.
The good thing about this, is that it's easy to solve. We need to make enough noise to change the conversation. To mobilise solutions. We know that when people understand the problem, they act to solve it. And we have easy-to-implement toolkits to help them do just that: save water.
We need to make saving water so famous, it's not just the right thing to do, it's the only thing to do.
How can I get involved in #RunningDry?
Join our community of water-conscious citizens and help us spread the message about saving water. Follow the journey on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, because the world is #RunningDry. Help us show that #EveryDropCounts.
You can also join Mina as she runs through your country or city, and support her in one of her 100 marathons! Community support is what helps Mina over the finish line. Sign up for our mailing list for updates on when we’ll be in your country and city, so you can run with us.
How can I be better at saving water?
Be aware of how much water you are using each day.
Switch your taps off when washing your hands or brushing your teeth.
Limit your showers to 2 minutes.
Place a bucket in the shower with you whilst you shower and use the water you have caught in the bucket to either flush your toilet or water your plants
Put buckets outside when it rains to catch water and use this water to flush the toilet or water plants.
Invest in outdoor water tanks that you can connect to your gutter system at your house to collect rain waters.
Curb food waste - only buy what you need and don’t throw away food because by doing so you’re also throwing away the water that went into producing it.
Recycle your clothing and consider buying from a second hand store or doing a clothing swop with friends instead of buying new clothes.
How often do you train?
I train every single day. I train with difficulty because I’m not really good at it… In fact, I’m really bad at training, I’m really bad at running, I’m pretty bad at all sports-related stuff. Except getting out there and putting in the miles every day.
How do you train?
I train in a variety of different activities. I run, of course, but because I’m older and female and because we’ve been worried about injury, I’ve done a lot of cross-training this time. I’ve done a lot of bike riding, like spinning, and I’ve been doing a lot of deep water running in the pool. That basically means that I put this lump of foam around my waist and I go to the deep-water end of the pool and I run. It’s really hard because you’ve got resistance around your legs the whole time, so every time you take a stride, you have water resistance in every direction, so it’s pretty tough. But I’m immersed in water, which I love!
I’ve also done a bunch of running on this machine called the AlterG, it’s an anti-gravity treadmill. Basically, it wraps around your waist and puffs up with a whole lot of air, and you can dial up how much gravity you want. For example, you can run at 60% of your body weight, or you can run at 70 or 80 or 90 or whatever you want. It basically means that you’re running, so you’re working on your running stride, but you don’t have as much impact on your feet. So, it’s really good for your muscles and bones.
And finally, I do a lot of strength training. So I’ve been going to the gym three times a week and I’ve been doing a bunch of training to make me and my body as resilient as it can possibly be. One of the problems with doing such an extended period of activity like this – and such intense activity – is that you need your body to be very, very resilient to all kinds of stresses.
Gym is also really important for older women. I think we assume that as we get older, we don’t need to go to the gym, but actually it’s really important – it builds a strong body, it builds strong bones, it builds strong infrastructure and it makes for a longer, healthier life.
I think one of the things that people don’t realise is how much stress is put on your body, not only physically but mentally and emotionally - from all the travel and moving around and shooting pictures and all kinds of things.
What do you typically eat in a day?
Ohh, cheeky question! It depends on how much I’m training. So, right now I’m eating A LOT of food. When I’m training normally, I eat kind of a lot of food.
This is what I would normally eat in a day:
Assuming I’m going training in the morning, I would have two pieces of toast or bread – often with some peanut butter. Then I go straight out and go for my run. While I’m running I’ll often eat a snack – a muesli bar, I LOVE my Carman’s muesli bars and Bonk Breaker bars. Then, straight after training, I have protein – a protein shake. So usually protein with some milk, because I want to make sure my bones stay strong and it’s the best way that we’ve identified for me to get some calcium in.
So, I have a cup of milk and my protein powder and then, within 45 minutes to an hour, I’ll have a proper meal. It might be a wrap or it might be some pasta or rice or eggs on toast or baked beans on toast or something. But it will always have protein and carbohydrate. And then I’ll have a couple of snacks in the afternoon - so it might be a couple of pieces of fruit or it might be some bananas, or it might be some cheese and crackers. I usually try and make sure I have some kind of calcium and protein during the afternoon.
Then, at night I’ll have beans or chickpeas or lentils and rice, or pasta. I make sure, again, that I have at least two cups of vegetables, at least ¾ of a cup to a cup of lentils, chickpeas or beans, and then at least a cup of rice – always brown rice – or some potatoes. I love baked potatoes with vegetables, cheese and some baked beans... so delicious. After dinner I have a little cup of Greek yoghurt.
Out here on the road, I’ve been eating pretty much the same. To be honest, I’ve had less dairy - I’m trying to work on that because it’s good for my bones. Otherwise, I get up and have my peanut butter sandwich and we go out for a run. I’ll have my Bonk Breaker raspberry chews because I’m totally addicted to them, so they’re my incentive - I try not to have them until I’ve reached at least 20km, at least the halfway mark, and then I space them out between 20km and 42km because I take two at a time and there’s like six or seven in a packet. Anyway, I’m addicted! Then afterwards I have a protein shake and within 40 minutes I’ll have food – usually two wraps or something like that. Then I’ll have a snack in the afternoon and then dinner.
Do you sleep?
Yes. I am not very good at sleeping because I’m so excited about everything that I do every day. I’m trying to be really conscious about sleep because all the research shows that the most important thing for people to avoid injury is, first of all, eating properly and, secondly, sleeping and resting and recovering, so I want to make sure that I do that. Do I sleep enough? No, never. Do I want to learn to sleep better? Yes – I’m trying to institute a kind of sleep protocol to encourage myself to sleep better and that means turning off my device at least an hour before I go to bed – it should be two hours, I know, but I’m trying to do at least an hour. And making sure I do my Headspace meditation before I go to sleep, making sure I’ve got everything ready so I can calmly go to sleep and not stress in the morning before I wake up. Really trying to make sure I have a proper sleep protocol so that when I do lie down, I can actually sleep.
Does it get lonely running?
Yes, it can get very lonely running. When I’ve been out training by myself – four or five hours a day – pretty much all of that is on my own. It gets lonely, and I’m a scaredy cat, so I get a little bit scared going out by myself for these long runs, with everything in my backpack. I worry that I won’t be able to do it, I worry that something will happen to me, I worry about being by myself. I just worry, and yes, it’s lonely.
Some of the loneliest times I think I’ve had were in Antarctica, when I did the 7 Deserts two years ago, and all I could see in every direction was whiteness – the sky was white, the ground was white, all around me, all I could see was white. I felt like I was at the bottom of the world, so far away from everyone everywhere. I’d left the team a couple of days before, everyone had been so supportive and encouraging and all of a sudden, I was there pretty much on my own. It was a pretty tough period of time. Running in Antarctica was the only place I’ve been able to hear the sound of my own heartbeat.
Where is your favourite place in the world to run?
My favourite place in the world to run, that I’ve run before… hard question! I love running on the beach near my mum’s house in Australia. It’s beautiful, it’s relaxing, it’s just so spectacular and there’s no one around and it’s kind of wild clifftops on the one side and beautiful pristine ocean and beach on the other side. I have to dodge piles of seaweed as I’m running along and jump over the ocean waves as they come to attack me as I’m running. But it’s really spectacular.
I loved running in Antarctica, it was such an incredible experience, even though it was really lonely. It was also just so remarkable – I didn’t know what I’d think about Antarctica when I went down there and as soon as I landed and put my feet on the continent, I fell in love with it. I know for sure that it’ll be part of my life forever going forward.
I also loved running in Jordan and meeting the Jordanian Bedouins. It was amazing to be in Chile and the Atacama where there was absolutely nothing growing. It was really amazing to meet farmers on the banks of the Murray-Darling. I don’t know, it’s really hard because, for me, it’s not just my favourite surroundings, but also the people I have met.
Who is your role model?
Ohh, tough question again… My role model is different people for different things. My role model for life and how I treat people, and for how I am as a person is my mum. She’s just the most special human being I’ve ever known in my life. She is just remarkable – there’s not much more words to say than that.
When did you start running?
I started running at the age of 22 when I hurt my back and the doctors told me I’d never be able to run again. I basically decided that I wasn’t going to let anyone tell me what I couldn’t do, except me. The only person to determine my future was going to be me. So, I started swimming – I thought I was this crazy great swimmer when I could swim two laps – and one of my friends came up to me at university and said, “I’ve heard you’re a swimmer.” I was like, “Yeah!” and she said, “I bet you can’t come to swim training with us.” I said, “Sure I can!” and she said, “It’s at 5am in the morning,” and I’m like, “Who swims at 5am, seriously??”
Anyway, they swam 10km or some crazy distance and I swam like 4 laps, but it was so amazing and such an incredible experience having a group of people around me. I decided I was going to go the next time and the next time and the next time, and the more I went the more I learnt about these amazing people. They were talking about these different races that they were training for – a bunch of them were training for something called the IronMan and one day somebody said to me, “You know, if you want to prove that you can do anything, why don’t you do the IronMan?” And before I knew it, I was going, “Yeah, that’s a great idea!” and so I had to learn to run and that was my first experience of running.
At that time, I could literally not run 100m. Most of my training was in a pool and cross training, and I had to teach myself how to run. I had to teach myself what it meant to hurt, or not hurt. I had to teach myself to keep going when all I wanted to do was stop. I had to teach myself everything, like how to put my body in the right position and where my feet should strike on the ground, and how my arms should swing… My arms don’t swing right, my feet don’t touch the ground right, I don’t have my body in the right position. I am such an ungraceful runner, but I learnt and fast forward to now, it seems to be what I do now.
Where are you from?
Where are you based now?
Hong Kong, but I spend a lot of time all over the world. I’m very fortunate to have an opportunity like this, to go and meet amazing people everywhere, to tell stories about water and to try to help make saving water famous!
How is the run funded?
#RunningDry is proudly supported by Colgate and Reebok, as well as the UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme, Global Water Partnership and UN Water.
Is this a non-profit?
Yes, Thirst is a non-profit based in Hong Kong. #RunningDry is a Thirst project.
What is happening with your donations on PayPal?
Any funds raised from the public will be put towards a documentary on the campaign (which we are filming en route). Any surplus funds raised will be used for Thirst’s youth water education and innovation programs. For more information about Thirst’s education programs, please go to www.thirst4water.org.
What is the documentary for?
Most people don’t know we are heading for a global water crisis. The goal of the documentary is to spread the word and inspire people and corporations to change their behavior and save water. During the #RunningDry campaign, we are interviewing people in some of the most water-stressed areas of the world and telling stories of these everyday heroes working to create solutions.
Are you doing your own social media?
I’m working with a team to help tell this story online, and to make sure as many people as possible have the ability and opportunity to join the cause to save water. I shoot videos and send voice notes and messages to upload whenever I can (when we have signal). My team then edits it to make sure it’s social media ready!
Where can I go to learn more about your work?
The best place is my website - www.minaguli.com, and my community online:
Also check out Thirst at www.thirstforwater.org