#RunningDry water campaign comes to South Africa

Posted on 8 January 2019

Mina Guli, Australian entrepreneur turned water advocate and ultra runner, has touched down in South Africa, and most recently visited the Newlands Spring in Cape Town this morning as part of her worldwide campaign for water conservation, #RunningDry.

The Western Cape and the rest of the country is not the only region suffering from severe droughts. The proverbial global well is running dry and Mina Guli and her team are working to drive change.

Mina Guli and her Cape Town volunteers and runners who joined in the running campaign.


Guli is the CEO of a the water-scarcity NGO, Thirst, based in Hong Kong. Guli and her enthusiastic team committed themselves to running 100 marathons in 100 days. Using the hashtag #RunningDry, Guli’s has already clocked in some hours on the road in various cities across Europe and Asia.

Her reasons for embarking on this global campaign is driven by a desire to educate ordinary people and national leaders to be proactive about the looming water crisis facing the planet.

“My marathons are a call to the world to join together to save water,” explains Mina. “The water we need to live, to survive, is running out. We’re calling this #RunningDry because we need to bring home the severity of the crisis we are facing. It is for this reason that I have chosen to do the unthinkable: running, and now walking, 100 marathons in 100 days around the world to show what a 100% commitment to water looks like. We can all help solve the world’s water crisis. Each one of us is able to make a difference.”

Her first stop in the still-thirsty Western Cape was a visit to Beaufort West, where she was shocked to learn about the water crisis there.

Guli overlooking the dry Leeu-Gamka Dam near Beaufort West.

Guli walks along the empty Leeu-Gamka Dam Bed.


“Visiting the town of Beaufort West has been very confronting, to see the effects of what living with no water in the flesh, makes me even more determined to finish my #RunningDry campaign and help change the way we think about water,” explains Mina. “We simply cannot take water for granted, water is life, it is critical, we need to respect and value it!”

Guli’s first Cape Town run brought her further over the halfway mark of her 100-marathon goal at race number 54. The plan was to head to her native Australia and then still on to the Americas (Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Mexico) before completing the hundredth marathon on 11 February in New York City. Guli began her campaign on 4 November 2018 at the New York Marathon.

Unfortunately, the spirited and strong-willed runner injured herself while in Cape Town when she sustained a stress fracture to her right femur after suffering from ongoing pain. The fracture in her leg had apparently grown causing severe pain. Guli had to get off the road during the sixty-second marathon, with the pain from the fracture inducing tears.

“The world is facing a projected 40% shortfall between supply and demand for water by 2030 – just 11 short years from now! If I give up now, it’s almost like giving up on striving towards a solution to this problem and I just can’t do it.”

The Australian environmentalist and runner is no stranger to the long road and has competed in several lengthy races, completing the equivalent of 40 marathons over seven weeks in the 2016 7 Deserts Run, and then same total over 40 days in the 6 River Run the following year.

Although her mentor and friend, the international swimmer Lewis Pugh, said in a tweet about Mina’s resilient efforts, if she continues running, she’ll sustain lifelong damage.

“Like with the current water crisis every single drop of water counts, every single step that I take towards finishing this campaign will hopefully help to highlight how dire our water situation worldwide really is – every drop counts, every step counts!” says Guli.

She explains further:

“This crisis will unfold in a series of ‘choke point’ locations around the world, created by a confluence of population pressure, irrigation agriculture and climate change. If unchecked, it will greatly exacerbate the frequency of famine, population displacement and armed conflict. The World Economic Forum ranks water crises among the top global societal risks in terms of impact.’

“The impacts of these choke points will be felt globally through food and commodity supply chains, as well as security threats. Conversely, addressing this crisis head-on presents a major opportunity to promote peace in unstable regions, to manage corporate risk in key commodity supply chains, and avert humanitarian crises.”

Guli is making her impact in the world in ensuring that education about water scarcity is spread and hopefully contributes to further saving mechanisms.

Also read: Durban swimmer takes on the Elephant Coast in anti-plastic campaign


Featured images: supplied/Mina Guli

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