Almost 200 people showed up to support Guelph's first ever "Secret 3K" walk/run on March 8th, 2023, creating a hive of happy activity on the trail behind the covered bridge. Rotary's support was evident!


Local organizer and volunteer race director Ashley Burr was delighted at the turnout and spirit. "Next year will be even bigger and better," she enthused. Rotary was delighted, too.
Here is the background about this event. 
"There are places in the world where women cannot run. We run for them." The Secret 3K run/walk event took place in Guelph for the first time on International Women's Day, March 8th, 2023 at 6.30pm. Secret 3K is supported by many Rotary Clubs across North America, and received a grant from the Rotary Club of Guelph to assist with Guelph's inaugural Secret 3K.
The Secret 3K run/walk event is to raise funds for women and girls in sport, and to highlight safety and equity. The Guelph event, endorsed by Rotary, took place on the trail behind Guelph's covered bridge, at 85 York Road. 
The event was described very well, in advance, in a local newspaper:
'I don’t want to run scared': Upcoming Guelph run draws attention to issues women runners face
The Secret 3K event was inspired by "The Secret Marathon" in 2015 in Afghanistan, a country where women and girls are not permitted to run or walk alone in public. With some outside help, the first Secret Marathon was arranged in a remote area of Afghanistan, and both men and women participated! More Secret Marathons have taken place since then. 
A wonderful documentary was made about this first Secret Marathon and can be viewed for free here. It is well worth watching.
One of the key promoters of this Afghanistan event was Martin Parnell, a Rotarian from Cochrane, Alberta (and District Governor for the Calgary area in 2021-2022). A keen marathoner, he is featured in the above documentary. 
Rotary supports the UN and Afghan women's rights activists in calling for women to have access to gyms and parks. All people should be free to move regardless of gender.
When Rotary Clubs in North America heard about The Secret Marathon, many felt motivated to raise funds to help the Afghani women and girls continue with their sporting and recreational activities. It soon became clear that safety for women and girls was an issue close to home as well, with many LOCAL examples of discrimination and assaults on women and girls in sports or travelling alone.
That's when the Secret 3K event was dreamt up, as a public run/walk to take place in North American towns and cities on International Women's Day each year. The goal is to empower women and girls through sport, raise awareness, and raise funds for organizations that support sport safety and equity, both locally and around the world. A governing body for Secret 3K was established to help coordinate, and Rotary is proud to have its logo included on the Secret 3K website.