Girls’ Track Team and Dr. Markova Organize International Women’s Day Run
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The annual Stuyvesant International Women’s Day Run was held in-person on the Hudson River Greenway on March 7, 9, and 11 after being canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 800 students attended the event and either ran one or two miles or walked one mile. The run was organized by Health and Physical Education teacher Dr. Anna Markova and the girls’ track team, the Greyducks, to celebrate Women's History Month and International Women’s Day.
The run raised money for the Malala Fund, an organization that advocates for providing girls all over the world with a safe and quality education. Funds were raised through donations and the sale of merchandise, such as T-shirts. Approximately $2,000 was raised and donated to the Malala Fund due to the high number of participants. Runners also received snacks and stickers.
The turnout of the event was greater than expected in comparison to previous years. It was expected that around 600 people would attend the event, but over 800 people signed up to attend. “I really admire the spirit of Stuyvesant and that people wanted to support, celebrate, and help,” Markova said.
The majority of participants attended on Friday, with fewer participants on Wednesday because of the poor weather. However, despite the conditions, Wednesday’s run was still able to draw in participants. “Even though the weather on Wednesday was sleet, we still had about 100 people show up that day,” senior and head student organizer of the event Nour Kastoun said.
This year’s run was also supported by many teachers, many of whom offered extra credit to students for participation. Health and Physical Education teacher Jenna Freytag, who participated in the run, decided to offer extra credit because she believed that the run could have a positive impact on her students. “This [is a] great opportunity to get exercise, socialize with friends, and do something that’s going to positively impact your grade at the same time,” she said.
Despite the run’s success, some believed that the organization of the event could have been improved upon. “We didn’t have that much contact with the seniors who had organized it before so it was [...] disorganized in some aspects,” junior and track team member Ria Escamilla said. “We tried using spreadsheets, but [should’ve] organized better with more consistency [during] meetings.”
Some noted that there were logistical issues with the organization of the event but felt that it was a success overall. “We had to get stamps [in order to get extra credit], but my stamp rubbed away after five minutes so I couldn’t really get the extra credit,” Jesse Ding, a participant at the run, said. “Everybody had a fun time, with lots of smiles around.”
The pandemic also caused issues with sponsors of the run. “A lot of our previous sponsors had issues financially because of COVID, [so] we had to be more proactive with sponsor outreach,” Kastoun said. This year, some sponsors included the Stuyvesant High School Alumni Association, the Stuyvesant Parents’ Association, the Kiwanis Club of Chinatown, and A+ Academy.
The fundraiser for International Women’s Day is dedicated to celebrating the achievements of women and acknowledging the long history of discrimination they have faced. “There have been so many years of injustices and we get one day. It’s fair to have a day to celebrate women,” Escamilla said. “[International Women’s Day] celebrates the achievements of what women already have done.”
The event also intended to highlight what still needs to be done with gender equality. “We still know how in many places and countries [people] can’t even get an education just because they are girls. We are still fighting for gender equality all around the world,” Markova said.
Though the event encountered some issues, the reception of the event was positive overall and helped raise money for the Malala fund. “It was not only positive physically, but [also] mentally [and] socially, and [it] celebrated something positive as well,” Freytag said.