SUNDAY TIMES - Aussie runner comes to SA to run for water
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Sunday Times News By JAN BORNMAN, 2016-03-06 00:00:00.0

Aussie runner comes to SA to run for water

Cracked earth marks a dried up watering hole on a farm near Aberdeen in the Karoo. File photo
Image: MIKE HUTCHINGS/REUTERS

Mina Guli, an Australian water advocate and endurance runner, has started the fifth leg  in South Africa of her mission to run through a desert on each continent to raise awareness about  the water crisis facing the planet.

Guli arrived in South Africa this weekend to run about 250km in the Richtersveld in the Northern Cape,  after completing similar feats through the Tabernas Desert in Spain, the Arabian Desert in Jordan, the Antarctic Polar Desert and the Simpson Desert in Australia.

“It’s been  hard, but also incredibly rewarding,” said Guli.

Despite “some challenges” at immigration, Mina said she was glad to be back in South Africa after running the Comrades Marathon in Kwa-Zulu-Natal  in 2015. “It’s an amazing race, but very difficult. I think it prepared me for what I’ll face over the next few days.”

Guli, who started off as a corporate lawyer before she founded Thirst, a non-governmental organisation,  is on a mission to raise awareness and educate people about the severe water shortages the planet is facing.

“It’s scary to not find water. On one of the days in Jordan we couldn’t find a well with water in it and it is just a massive reality check,” said Guli.

“What we are trying to do is show people it starts with each one of us by changing our behaviour and choices. It’s about making smart consumer choices. By having one vegetarian meal, for example, you save water the equivalent of two hours of showering.”

Guli said that, by 2030, the demand for water will be 40% greater than the supplies available, and everyone can do their part by making smart choices such as choosing tea over coffee, or chicken over beef.

Once Guli has completed her 250km in the Richtersveld, she will head for the Atacama Desert in Chile and end off in the Mojave Desert in the  US.