These badass women in Tehran risked getting arrested to run a marathon with men
You do not mess with the women of Tehran!
A few days ago it was announced that Iran's capital Tehran will organize its first-ever international marathon. As amazing as the announcement was, it came along with a catch of its own--especially for the womenfolk in the country. It was announced that women were banned from running the full marathon with men, and therefore will run separately on an indoor track. Talk about being regressive!
However, some badass women didn't care about the announcement. Guess what they did? They defied the orders and ran their own marathon--that too outdoors. Take that patriarchy!
After a series of confusing updates on the event, which included indoor track and a separate 10KM run for women, some women decided that they will participate on their own terms. A group of women decided to create their own "secret" marathon in a local park before joining the official 10K race.
Although women still had to adhere to strict wardrobe rules that requires them to cover their bodies, this gutsy move is definitely a move towards progress.
In an interview to The Independent, Manal Al Rostom, a professional runner and Nike coach from Egypt shared her experience of defying the rules. "I'm glad we spoke up. I just feel that when women speak up for themselves that's when real change comes around. As a Middle Eastern woman to see women being empowered in this way and see women run in the streets for the first time means a lot to me, of course," she said.
Al Rostom added that this move was unprecedented as it let women know that there are no limits and they can do anything they want.
Some women are determined to defy orders again and complete the official 42K route run with men next year. They even carried bibs or banners with slogans such as 'See you next year, 42K.'
That these women chose to run outdoors with men is technically against the law in Iran, a country that requires men and women to compete apart from each other since the country's 1979 revolution. There are even laws that ban women from watching men's sporting events in person and vice versa. Earlier in February, the country's chess federation kicked teenage chess prodigy Dorsa Derakhshani off the national team for competing without a hijab at the Gibraltar Chess Festival.
However, Iranian women have decided not to let their country's rules to dictate what they want to do. They continue to fight for more equal rights, despite all odds and this marathon is the example.
Also read: Iranian chess grand master Dorsa Derakhshani gets banned from competing for not wearing a hijab
While it's still unclear if the women who had their own marathon will face consequences, we are hoping that women will keep defying these rules in the future.