Reflection on Women’s Day Run

Stuyvesant held their tenth annual Women’s Day Run Event, where participants were able to interact with each other to support equality for women.

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As Women's History Month approached, Stuyvesant organized its 10th annual International Women’s Day Run on March 25, 26, and 28. This year, Stuyvesant sold T-shirts as a part of a fundraiser event for Free to Run, a non-profit organization focused on supporting women and girls residing in struggling communities. Participants representing all ages and genders gathered for a shared purpose: to celebrate the strides made toward obtaining women’s rights and to further advocate for gender equality. 

Running together with a shared feeling of dedication, participants felt a sense of unity and fellowship. “I enjoyed the aspect where you can go with your friends and find a sense of community because I was with my friends and I saw many other people running in the same direction as us. There were also people we met when we went to the halfway mark and we took pictures and then it was all over Instagram and everyone’s stories. You felt like you were part of something,” freshman Laiba Sidu commented. “I learned about women’s empowerment and about how students can work together. For example, my friends and I got through like a quarter of it and there was a girl who was struggling. We were like empowering her, we were like ‘it’s okay, you got this!’ and then eventually she ended up finishing it with us,” Sidu added.

Sidu was also pleasantly surprised to see how many men attended the run. “If anything, it made the event a lot better because it also shows that it’s not only women supporting women, it’s also men standing up for women. I feel like there shouldn’t be any restriction on Women’s Day Run for it to be only for women. It should be for everybody to appreciate women, so it's good to see that men appreciate women as well,” she said.

Not only did the event contribute to a meaningful cause, but it also provided participants with a chance to relax with their friends. Freshman Isha Rashid explained, “For me, it was mostly a fun bonding time with my friends, especially since I haven’t seen them in a while. We didn’t necessarily have to run, so I just walked, joking around with my friends.”

Because Stuyvesant has such a large student body, students often see a different group of people each time they are in a new class, making it difficult to get closer to one another. However, the run created unity, allowing students to work together for the same cause: gender equality. “It was amazing to see so many students and the school community come and run and walk. It’s an event for everyone to participate and be active and on the other hand to do something for their health,” Physical Education teacher Dr. Anna Markova said in an email interview. 

In addition to interacting with peers, Rashid was able to interact with nature. “I really liked how Stuyvesant could choose to hold the run next to the Hudson River. When I got tired while running, I stopped and looked around, and I admired the beautiful nature around,” Rashid stated.  

Some students wished for clearer instructions. “I thought that running a mile requires us to run one mile to the other side and another mile way back, so I ran two miles which made me tired at the end, and I felt like the instructors needed to provide a better explanation because I was genuinely confused,” freshman Aulinda Wei said. On the last day of the run, heavy rain that began in the morning restricted participants from enjoying a full opportunity. “I didn't bring an umbrella so I got really wet. I think they should choose dates that are warmer and they should plan all three days according to the weather because the first two days were fine but the last day I went to was cold and rainy,” Rashid expressed. 

In contrast, Wei viewed the rain as a unique experience. “Running in rain felt very romantic to me, and I felt like I was in a movie or like a K-drama since we usually don’t get an opportunity to ever run in a rain,” Wei explained. 

Even though not every student that attended was particularly aligned with the cause, their experiences turned out to be fulfilling. “At first, I only decided to go because my gym teacher Ms. Freytag told me that I could receive an extra credit by attending. but in the end I really liked it,” Wei replied. “I found out about the event through my parents and friends and the weekly updates that Ms. Ingram sends. I thought it would not be that entertaining and fun and I was expecting less of it, but when I actually did it, I had a lot of fun,” Sidu exclaimed. 

After the run, students felt empowered by the physical feat they had accomplished. “As a woman, it made me feel proud how I could put effort to represent and honor my own gender. I felt really motivated,” Rashid explained. 

Months of time and effort were poured into making this event successful. “We usually start in September and work all the way until March to organize, get sponsors, and advertise. Many school clubs and organizations such as girls and boys track team, Wellness Council, Red Cross, ARISTA, Students Union, and Stuy Road Runners are involved. I’m especially thankful and grateful to the girls track team that they continued in the tradition of International Women’s Day Run even though I am not their coach anymore. They are the main driving force behind organizing this amazing event,” Dr. Markova added. 

Despite the fact that the event turned out successfully, Markova has future aspirations to elevate the event further. “We definitely need to work on logistics better and try to get involved also in the English and Social Studies departments so we can come up with a school wide project where academics can be involved as well. We would also like to get some big organization or foundation to support us and we would love to branch it out to other DOE schools as a city wide event,” Dr. Markova replied.

Stuyvesant’s 10th annual International Women’s Day Run empowered its students to celebrate gender equality and further strive for women’s rights. Participants encountered challenges as well as companionship, making for an overall meaningful experience. “If they’re doing it again next year, I would definitely go again,” Wei concluded.