Epic Seine River Run will call for restoration of the world's rivers

Posted on June, 05 2024

Renowned water advocate, Mina Guli, is running the length of the Seine River ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympics
It will be a world first. No one has ever run the entire length of France's most iconic river before. But that is exactly what Mina Guli, the globally renowned water and environmental advocate from Australia, is setting out to do with the SeineRiverRun. And not because she loves running - but to highlight the importance of healthy rivers and the need for countries around the world to restore them.

On June 5th, Mina took the first steps on her latest epic journey – running 848km from source to sea along the Seine River ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Setting off on World Environment Day and Global Running Day from Source-Seine, Mina will finish on July 4th at the sea at Le Havre.

The run will celebrate the efforts that have been made to restore the Seine river. Once functionally 'dead', it is not coming back to life. From just 3 species of fish at its most polluted, the river now boasts 32. And there is even a chance that some Olympic swimming events will take place in the river - 100 years after swimming was banned because the waters were too polluted.
Having run 200 marathons in 1 year for water during the first phase of Run Blue in 2022-23, Mina will run the equivalent of 20 marathons 30 days along France’s most iconic river to draw attention to the efforts being made to clean up the Seine and the need for all cities and countries to restore their rivers to help tackle water, climate, and nature crises.
Mina Guli said: “I am running the entire length of the Seine to spotlight the immense efforts needed to clean up this iconic river and, as the world gathers in Paris for the 2024 Games, to call on other cities and countries to restore their rivers. Often undervalued and overlooked, we need to value healthy rivers. They are the arteries of our planet - connecting land and sea, sustaining rural communities and mega-cities, underpinning our societies and economies, and sustaining extraordinary biodiversity. It is time we restored them.”
The Paris government is committed to cleaning up the river so it is once again safe enough to swim in – 100 years after swimming was banned. But it is not just the Seine that needs restoring. Rivers across the world continue to be dammed, drained, degraded and polluted.
The importance of healthy rivers is rising up the international agenda with countries committing to restore 30% of degraded ‘inland waters’ by 2030 as part of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, and the Global Stocktake at COP28 in Dubai highlighting the importance of water and rivers to climate adaptation.
But there is an urgent need to accelerate action and not only by governments: businesses and financial institutions also need to invest more in resilient river basins.
“Mina runs ridiculous distances because it’s ridiculous that we continue to degrade rivers across the world instead of restoring them,” said Stuart Orr, Global Freshwater Lead for WWF, one of the partners of the #SeineRiverRun. “Mina’s message is clear: cities and countries should restore the rivers that flow through them because healthy rivers are central to enhancing water and food security, reversing nature loss and adapting to climate change. Restoring rivers is essential to a resilient and sustainable future.”
“Mina Guli is a true champion of water, and Grundfos is proud to support Mina on her 848km-journey along the Seine, highlighting the importance of restoring and taking care of the world’s rivers. Grundfos’ promise to respect, protect, and advance the flow of water fits perfectly with Mina’s passion for protecting water, and we are - just like Mina - ready to go the extra mile when it comes to water management and looking after our most precious resource,” said Virgina Newton-Lewis, Water Sustainability Director, Grundfos, which is another partner of the #SeineRiverRun.
The Seine River Run is backed by a diverse range of partners, including the City of Paris, WWF, Grundfos, Asics, UNEP, Rotary International, Xylem, the Dutch Valuing Water Initiative and the Rocky Mountain Rowing Club.
The SeineRiverRun is also the prologue to the next even more ambitious phase of the RunBlue campaign - the ‘World River Run’, which will see Mina run thousands of kilometres in 2025-26 along 20 rivers on six continents to inspire governments, businesses and communities to take action to protect and restore our rivers.
Mina Guli starting the Seine River Run
© Kelvin Trautman / RunBlue

Related links

Map of the #SeineRiverRun
© RunBlue
Mina Guli's Seine River Run is backed by WWF
© RunBlue
Mina Guli is doing the Seine River Run to call for the restoration of the world's rivers
© Simon Pocock / RunBlue