Akzhan Yerseit, 12 years old
Gauhar Bramley-Fanton is an energetic beautiful woman who brought her inspiration all the way from London to Kazakhstan and organized the first marathon in Astana. She is a strong person and a great role model as she brings the ideas of charity to the new level and I was excited when she agreed to share her story with “Generation Next” magazine.
Everything started in London when Gauhar noticed how eagerly English people participate in marathons for charity. It was exciting to see how ordinary people contribute their money and run for a noble purpose. Despite an option to pay only 100 pounds and run as a regular runner, the majority of people register for marathon through charity and pay 1500 pounds. This is a pure manifestation o f human kindness and support for people with disabilities. Gauhar realized how compassionate people can be and how seriously English people treat the idea of equality. The idea sparkled in Gauhar’s head: she could organize marathons in her home country and bring the new perception of charity to Kazakhstan.
As many great people, she has her own role model and a source of inspiration. Gauhar was deeply impressed by Chris Brasear, who is an Olympic champion, sport journalist and the founder of London marathon at once. He travelled to New York where he got his own inspiration to organize the London marathon. Mr. Brasear went through all the difficulties to make his dream come true and today London marathon is the most successful one in the world. Hopefully, in several years Kazakhstan will also become a country where marathons for charity is a common thing.
Just like Chris Breazer, Gauhar met many obstacles when she returned to Kazakhstan in 2010 in order to organize a marathon. Since the idea of running for charity was new to Kazakhs, it wasn’t easy to persuade the city council of Astana to support her idea. However, this strong and initiative woman managed to ensure politicians that marathon is a unique opportunity to raise money which does not require financial support. All she needed was a street free from cars where our citizens could start and finish this marathon safely. Finally, everything was ready and Astana had its first full-length marathon!
This fall another annual marathon was organized in Astana and Gauhar could be proud of herself. However, she believes that there are still a number of problems to deal with in the future. For example, there are people who view charity marathons in negative way just beacuse the roads are closed and travelling by car becomes harder that day. Probably, our citizens should take a look at this issue from another perspective, where marathons are not only a way to help people, but also a way to promote a healthy lifestyle. Gauhar believes in bright future of Kazakhstan marathons, but she seems to have realistic point of view, as she says:
«We have to be patient. It is not something that can be solved in a hour or all the more so in a year. We definitely need more time so that our citizens could understand this idea»
Gauhar believes that we are never restricted in our opportunites. She is constantly busy trying to find new partners for the charity marathons. Currently, there are two charities involved: «SOS Children Villages» and the «Ayala» foundation. Different funds as «Kasietty zhol», «Ana Yui», «Bi Zhuldyzai», «One Steppe Beyonde» also participated in Marathon as partners.
Last year there were 4352 participants in the «Astana 2016 marathon» and 2985 of them were able to come to the finish. So, the last marathon was abl to collect 4328492 tenge.
Speaking of her personal aspirations, Gauhar want to see Kazakh names on the Wall of Fame for marathon runners — a list of people who wer able to complete all 6 elite marathons, which include: London, Berlin, Chicago, Boston, New York and Tokyo marathons. Her goal is to inspire people and help them develop a culture of marathon running. Based on her experience, she believes that you can overcome any distance in case you have a clear goal in your mind.
«When you’re physically exhausted and mentally breaking down you remember thar so many people are supporting you and have put in so much money and hard work, that you just keep going!».
So now I never consider disability as a disadvantage, it’s a just condition, she says.
After this interview it was hardly possible to stay indiffren. I would say that Gauhar spreads inspiration wherever she goes. She inspired me to join her for a run and this made me feel that I would want to participate in the next marathon. It is hardto resist when you see a person so fond of helping people, who is not afraid of any obstacles. Hopefully, all of the Gauhar’s dreams will be fulfilled as soon as possible, Kazakhstan will develop a culture of running marathons for charity and become the next country where the best marathons in the world take place.