Australian Story: Apr 29

On Monday Australian Story profiles Mina Guli who ran 100 marathons in 100 days across the world to draw attention to a global water crisis.

How far would you push yourself for a cause you believe in?

Mina Guli doesn’t like running. “On a scale of one to ten, where would you rate running?” the 48-year-old CEO was asked recently in an interview with US network CNN. “One,” she answered emphatically.

Despite that, she just attempted a physical feat so extreme most people would consider it impossible – running 100 marathons in 100 days across the world.

Why? Because in the modern crowded media landscape, it was the only way she could see to draw attention to one of the greatest threats facing the planet – the global water crisis.

This year, the World Economic Forum has ranked the water crisis as the fourth greatest global risk to our world in terms of impact. By 2030, it is estimated demand for water will outstrip supply by 40 per cent.

Mina Guli, named as one of the 50 World’s Greatest Leaders by Fortune Magazine in 2016, became galvanised when she discovered the concept of “invisible water” – the water that goes into producing everything we use, buy and consume.

“Just one cup of coffee takes about 140 litres of water to grow the coffee beans,” she says. “And about 200 litres of water to make one disposable cup. That invisible water represents 90% of our personal water consumption every day.”

She created an NGO to raise awareness of water scarcity and began ultra-marathon campaigns to highlight water crisis hotspots around the world.

She was more than halfway through her attempt at 100 marathons in 100 days when her body literally broke. Facing permanent injury, she thought all was lost.

No one expected what happened next.

“She’d always set out to raise a community of people who wanted to save water, says Mina’s mother Catherine Guli. And every day since then, that’s what happened.”

Australian Story’s “Running On Empty” shows the extent to which someone will push their body to raise awareness and create change.

Producers: Winsome Denyer and Amy Bainbridge.

8pm Monday on ABC.

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