The Legacy of Martin Parnell
In 2016, Martin Parnell went on a journey that many believed was madness: running a marathon in Afghanistan in a quest to fight for women's rights and gender equality.
Of course, this was not the first time he had been called crazy. In 2010 he had run 250 marathons in one year, and in 2013 he had climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 21 hours.
Those two endeavours were part of his “Quest for Kids” initiative, which raised $1.3 million for the humanitarian organization ‘Right To Play’ and gave the gift of hope to over 27,000 children around the world.
It was while recovering from a rare and life-threatening blood clot on his brain that Martin had read about Zainab, the first woman to run a marathon in Afghanistan. He was so inspired by her story that he decided that if he was able to recover from his illness, he would run with her at the next "Marathon of Afghanistan" in support of rights for girls and women.
During his trip to Afghanistan Martin was transported to a country of beauty, hardship and complexity, sharing in the despair, resilience and friendliness of the Afghan people as they strive for freedom and equality for themselves and their fellow citizens.
The reference photo used for this painting was taken in September 2009 while Martin was running the 100-mile Lost Souls Ultra in Lethbridge, Alberta.