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Jessica Wright: Helping Girls in Afghanistan Run Free

Jessica Wright is a 32-year-old lawyer living in Afghanistan. She moved there nearly a year ago after accepting a position at a commercial law firm in Kabul. Wright had previously worked at NATO in Belgium, and studied international law in law school, so she says practicing in a conflict zone seemed like “a natural fit.”  

This November, Wright will run her first marathon—the TCS New York City Marathon. She was inspired to run by the women of Afghanistan, who “are strong and resilient in the face of ongoing war and harmful cultural norms.”  

Wright is running to raise money for Free to Run, an organization that promotes running, fitness, and adventure among women and girls in conflict-affected communities.

“Since running has meant so much to me over the years, I really identified with their mission,” says Wright. “FTR provides girls with an outlet for physical activity, something that is not valued for women in Afghan culture.”

Wright wants to encourage Afghan girls to embrace sports as a way to help build confidence and strength as they grow up amid an unstable military and political transition.  

She hopes that completing the TCS New York City Marathon will encourage the women she has encountered to dream big and “set personal goals, athletic and otherwise.” Wright also hopes that she can inspire those women “to keep pushing against the boundaries that circumscribe how fully they may live their lives.”  

Funds raised for FTR go toward providing girls in Afghanistan with athletic programs and equipment for after-school activities. Wright and her teammates plan to raise at least $18,000 for the organization through their participation in the marathon. 

By Kent Hamlin

GET YOUR STORIES ON. Read more inspiring stories from runners chronicling their journeys to the TCS New York City Marathon starting line.

TUNE IN. The 2016 TCS New York City Marathon will be televised live on Sunday, November 6, on WABC-TV, Channel 7 in the New York tri-state area from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET, and for the rest of the nation on ESPN2 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET.