Women’s empowerment can come in many forms, from doing her hair for yourself to run a marathon with discipline. Regardless of the process, the ultimate goal is usually to build a woman’s confidence and self-esteem.
For 9 years, Malaysian Women’s Marathon (MWM) has been organizing marathons with the goal of providing a less competitive environment for women to run long distance races, full marathons and celebrate International Women’s Day with a difference.
But I was still baffled about how marathons foster women’s self-empowerment.
To this, the MWM team responded: “A marathon requires a lot of discipline, dedication and passion. Completing a marathon often involves an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and improving self-esteem instills confidence in what I can do. .
“Women around the world are often challenged in their personal pursuit of excellence, at different levels, with a lack of these positive values,” they explained the importance of what they do.
In the past, these marathons could be held physically, but with COVID-19, everything had to be taken to the virtual space. This needed the support of the right parties.
Connecting to the Internet doesn’t mean it’s easier
Since 2020, MCIS Insurance Berhad (MCIS Life) has been a sponsor of the MWM marathons. In March 2020, the first MCIS Life MWM race was supposed to be held, with over 8,000 participants registered.
However, the committee made the decision to call off the physical race a few days before the event following the upward trend in COVID-19 cases in the country. This happened long before the MCO 1.0 announcement.
Participants were disappointed that they had wanted it, but MCIS Life MWM assured them that, by 2021, they would be presented with an option in accordance with the new normal.
Therefore, MCIS Life MWM 2021 was a fully virtual event that took place over 1.5 months and had close to 1,000 participants.
With a major change in the way the marathon would be held, the changes had to follow. The marathon was adapted to have distances between 50 and 250 kilometers, compared to distances of 5 to 42 kilometers for one-day physical marathons.
The team also welcomed cyclists to participate this year for the first time in the history of the annual event.
To track their progress and share results, participants had to synchronize their Strava app (which monitors the distance of their activity, etc.) with the MWM logging portal while using GPS watches during workouts. .
Alternatively, participants were also allowed to submit results from their smartphone’s health app, which provides statistics on their activity relationship.
The information that was collected daily was sent to the MWM board of directors showing the progress of the participants and the completion of their workouts, whether running, walking, jogging or cycling.
There is no better time to support each other than now
MCIS Life is the main sponsor of the MCIS Life MWM race from 2020 to 2022, as it found this opportunity as the right medium for women, men and children to become aware of how even common issues such as shared responsibilities in a home, they can empower women.
He gave away hundreds of free and highly discounted tickets for the race, but his financial contribution to the program is only part of his support.
As she also wants to position herself as an advocate for women’s empowerment, her team helps MWM to ensure the race is widely disseminated.
This means bringing together a larger number of fitness-oriented individuals who are primarily women (although men and children are not excluded) from different age groups.
Apart from the actual race, the event is a one-month affair, which includes other activities such as:
- Sincere conversations about current issues affecting women and our society,
- Knowledge exchange sessions related to sexual harassment and personal safety tips,
- Provide a way for women entrepreneurs to showcase their work (most MCIS Life MWM racing kits and products are manufactured) and more.
Inspirational lights in the middle of the dark pandemic
Putting the event online also had other advantages: there were more people starting out for the first time from the comfort of their home.
Those who are still WFH have been studying changing their lifestyles to spend time exercising and achieving personal goals.
The pandemic was also a clear reminder that health and the immune system play an important role in protecting against disease, creating the urgency to change for the better.
While seeing an improvement in health is rewarding enough, a marathon usually rewards the winners with medals and other prizes.
In line with this, MCIS Life MWM 2021 winner Chong Mei Sze made a sponsored trip to participate in the 2021 Shenzen International Marathon.
It is scheduled to take place in December this year, although with the team watching closely how COVID-19 cases develop around the world, Chong offers him the option to join the international event of 2022.
The team also saw inspiring cases of this marathon, such as a woman who was 34 weeks pregnant completing a 10km run and a woman in rehab for sports injury surgery who completed a 100km walking distance.
Overall, the MCIS Life MWM team considers their first virtual marathon a success and is already brainstorming for upcoming events. Depending on the operation of Malaysia’s national vaccination program COVID-19, the team will modify its plans.
- You can learn more about MCIS Life hereand MWM here.
- You can read about other virtual marathons we’ve covered here.
Featured Image Credit: Chong Mei Sze, winner of MCIS Life MWM 2021