Watch Ultrarunner Struggle to Help Afghani Women in Wake of US Withdrawal

One athlete started a nonprofit to aid Afghani women financially. Turns out, they just wanted to run in the incredible wilderness of their own country.

When Stephanie Case decided to use her ultrarunning to raise money for an Afghani women’s shelter, she had no idea what would happen next.

“They didn’t give a shit about the money I’d raised for the shelter,” Case says in the latest video from The North Face. “They wanted to know about the running and how they could do it too.”

Yet this story of a nonprofit doing good in the Middle East quickly becomes more complicated. The withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan in 2021 resulted in widespread chaos and the return of the Taliban.

Case’s nonprofit, Free to Run, became a target. Suddenly, Case’s mission changed from empowering Afghani women to evacuating the nonprofit’s entire staff.

As she trains for — and ultimately finishes in record time — the grueling Tor des Glaciers 450, Case deals with the emotional fallout of this tragic situation.

As for the women of Free to Run, who one alumnus said were among “the bravest I have ever seen,” their campaign for freedom continues.

Runtime: 30 minutes

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Andrew McLemore
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An award-winning journalist and photographer, Andrew McLemore brings more than 14 years of experience to his position as Associate News Editor for Lola Digital Media. Andrew is a musician, climber and traveler who currently lives in Cuenca, Ecuador, which he uses as a home base for adventures throughout the Americas. When he's not writing, playing gigs or exploring the outdoors, he's hanging out with his dog Campana.

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