By Mori Natura - Chickfly Staff Author
At the end of the summer here in Northern California, we’re following the adventures of two inspiring women as they complete a 282 kilometer trek across Tajikistan! That’s the equivalent of running seven back to back marathons! Sophie and Jennie are two runners who participated in the The Great Silk Run, and we sponsored them with Chickfly pants and shorts to help them to be well equipped for this epic adventure.
Their ambitious journey took these two women on a race from the border of Afghanistan to the border of China, traversing challenging terrains as part of a 17 member team. These amazing women raced not only for a deep love of running and athleticism, but also to bring awareness to causes they support.
Sophie’s cause is “Hopebox,” the first organization in Vietnam to support victims and survivors of gender-based violence; we contributed a dollar to her cause for every pair of pants sold during the run. This issue became deeply personal to Sophie who has spent the last several years teaching in Hanoi as her students shared their experiences with her. And Jennie, also a teacher, chose to run for Recreate-U; this non-profit work provides much-needed tutoring, ESL, and mental health support to students in the UK.
Fueled by their ambition to be of service to their communities to help support changes they believe in, these women set out with a team of runners to a remote high-elevation desert landscape. Both were concerned about how they would be able to accomplish the trek and take care of their bodily functions along the journey. Sunni Islam is the predominant religion in Tajikistan, and modesty laws restrict women's lives. Unsure how these laws would inhibit them from completing the Great Silk Run, Sophie and Jennie turned to Chickfly founder Anna Birkas with a request to be sponsored.
Hearing their plight, and wanting to support their ability to participate in this long-distance run safely, Anna sent them some gear to help them along with their goals. Anna fell in love with their activism, impressed by their athleticism coupled with their devotion to serve. The entire Chickfly office staff spent weeks getting to know these women from across the world, doing zoom interviews, and taking in pictures from their adventure as their phone reception allowed. We posted their causes to social media, cheered them on from afar, held space for them, and wished them victory with all of our collective strength to get them up and over the giant mountains! We also felt really glad that we had been able to help them have pants with access when they needed it the most!
Jennie explained, “…a lot of the terrain in Tajikistan is open steppe and mountainside with no convenient bushes. The Chickflys will be an absolute lifesaver; they’re so needed and many women don’t even know they're an option. I was NOT looking forward to stripping off mid-steppe every day.” In Western countries, we experience the privilege of it being socially acceptable to show our behinds when peeing outdoors. The freedom to go anywhere on the great silk run, courtesy of Chickfly! We are so thankful to have had this opportunity to bring Chickfly pants to a remote Islamic nation while simultaneously contributing to a greater cause.
To learn more about Sophie and her work to end gender based violence, check out our interview here!