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Why This Marathon Runner Is One of the World’s Greatest Leaders

March 24, 2016, 5:00 PM UTC
Mina Guli
In this Feb. 9, 2016, photo provided by Kelvin Trautman, Australian long-distance runner Mina Guli, the founder and CEO of Thirst, participates in the 7 Deserts Run4Water expedition in the Arabian desert, Jordan, while attempting to hoof through seven deserts on seven continents in seven weeks to raise awareness of worldwide water shortages, and she is almost done with the more-than-thousand-mile run. (Kelvin Trautman via AP)
Kelvin Trautman — AP

The staff of Fortune and a panel of experts recently assembled our annual list of the World’s Greatest Leaders. Here’s a profile of one of them.

While some climate-related threats can seem abstract, water scarcity is visceral and immediate, palpable in the crunch of drought-ravaged crops or the sting of a parched throat. Guli, an Australian corporate-lawyer-turned-activist, started Thirst to educate consumers about water conservation, but this year the 45-year-old upped the ante, running 40 marathons across seven deserts on seven continents—in just seven weeks—while collecting conservation pledges online. On March 22, World Water Day, she completed the 1,048-mile journey of the 7 Deserts Run. “Never seen a better example yet of #gobigorgohome,” tweeted a fan in Hong Kong.


This article is part of the 2016 World’s 50 Greatest Leaders list, our annual directory of world-changing leaders in business, government, philanthropy and beyond. Click here to see the entire package.