Water activist drops bid to finish 100 marathons in 100 days

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Injury has forced an Australian activist to stop her effort to complete 100 marathons in 100 days as a way to highlight the importance of conserving water.

Mina Guli, 48, had run and walked 62 marathons on several continents, but in South Africa she was diagnosed with multiple stress fractures in her right femur.

A representative said Monday that Guli will now focus on recovery, though she will continue her #RunningDry campaign to raise awareness about global water shortages. That will include meeting people who are struggling without enough water and drawing attention to innovators trying to come up with solutions to water scarcity.

Some supporters in several countries are showing solidarity with her cause by running long distances.

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Guli, whose last marathon was on Friday, tweeted that it was taking 12 hours to complete the daily distance. She also said doctors advised her she would never be able to run again if she continued.

“I need a break, or I’m going to break,” said Guli, who founded Thirst, a non-profit group focused on teaching youth in China about sustainable consumption of water.

Lewis Pugh, a long-distance swimmer and ocean advocate, met Guli at a Cape Town hospital and urged her to quit her 100-marathon attempt but continue to focus on her activism.

“She had covered 62 marathons. But each day she was experiencing extreme pain in her legs. She tried shuffling. Finally, she was walking with sticks,” Pugh tweeted.

“I never want to tell anybody it’s OK to give up,” an injured Guli said in an interview with The Associated Press on Dec. 30, before quitting the daily marathons.

On Monday, Guli tweeted photos of her in a swimming pool. She said she was doing “intensive rehab” so she can finish her #RunningDry campaign — slated to end Feb. 11 — “on my feet.”

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