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VIDEO: Documentary starring Cochrane's Marathon Man makes digital debut

The Secret Marathon follows runner Martin Parnell and filmmaker Kate McKenzie run for women's freedom and equality in the second Afghanistan marathon.
The Secret marathon
The Secret Marathon follows Cochrane's Marathon Man Martin Parnell and filmmaker Kate McKenize as they race for women and girls' freedoms and equality in Afghanistan.

In October 2016, filmmaker Kate McKenzie and I went to Afghanistan to run a marathon with a group Afghan women and girls who ran for freedom and equality. We took with us a documentary film crew.

Five and a half years later, on Feb. 21, The Secret Marathon film was released to stream publicly for the first time on Vimeo.

The award-winning documentary film tells the story of the first women in Afghanistan to run a marathon. 

“We were heartbroken to hear the news that the Taliban had taken over Afghanistan. Months later, many of our friends and contacts are still not safe and are facing threats due to promoting gender equality,” said co-director Kate McKenzie. 

“Seeing the influx of new Afghan refugees to Canada, we felt now was the time to share with the world a different perspective about Afghanistan through our film. Oftentimes, the only things we hear about Afghanistan are stories of war, poverty and terrorism yet it is a beautiful country with resilient and hospitable people.”

Our hope is that by sharing our story, Canadians and those around the world will be more willing to greet Afghan refugees with open arms and see them as wonderful additions to our communities.

Kate shares: “While filming this documentary in Afghanistan, I was inspired by such brave women and girls who fought for equality and at times, risked their lives for the freedom to run outdoors.”

McKenzie hopes the film will inspire others to stand in solidarity with Afghans and continue to speak up about the need for gender equality. 

The Secret Marathon film was created in collaboration with Afghan cultural advisors and all Afghans featured in the film have communicated their support for sharing the film more widely.


  • The Secret Marathon film has raised over $100,000 for charities including Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, the Afghan Sports Trust and 261 Fearless all of whom create opportunities for women in education and sport.
  • The film inspired the Secret 3K a run/walk event hosted during the week of International Women’s Day now in its 5th year with thousands of participants joining from 24 countries around the world.
  • Award winning film including:
    • Winner of People’s Choice Award, Best Documentary Feature at Edmonton International Film Festival, People’s Choice Award at Zonta Film Festival, Audience Choice Best Documentary Runner-Up at Cinefest Film Festival
    • Record breaking attendance at Calgary Underground Film Festival
    • Sold-out theaters at Cinefest, EIFF, Zonta, CUFF Docs, Red Deer Justice Film Festival, Kingston Canadian Film Festival

So now you too can see this film. Just click on this link:  and not only will you have access to the main film but we have also made available a Children’s version.

Please share far and wide. Stronger together.

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