Kenyan Runners Compete in Marathon Race to Celebrate UNEP’s Anniversary


Kenya’s top runners today joined a half-marathon race to mark the fortieth anniversary of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

More than 200 runners today competed in a half-marathon race and over 300 others participated in a five-kilometre fun run to celebrate the agency’s anniversary.

The runners took to the roads of Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, as they participate in the marathon and support agency’s efforts to raise awareness on green issues.

The marathon is widely participated by elite runners in training for events such as the London Marathon in April and the Summer Olympics in August.

Brazilianborn model Gisele Bundchen (centre) greets fans and the media, wearing a t-shirt hand painted by a Kenyan artist for the Seal the Deal campaign, following the announcement of her designation as Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), at an event in Washington Square Park, New York City. UN Photo/UNEP

Victor Kipchirchir won the race in a time of 1 hour and 27 seconds. Mercy Chemutai was the fastest woman with a time of 1:12:51.

In the five-kilometre race, dignitaries and officials from 150 countries attending a UNEP meeting this week in Nairobi were invited to run alongside with marathon stars.

Patrick Makau, the current world record holder in the marathon, and Paul Tergat, the former world record holder and an Ambassador Against Hunger for the UN World Food Programme (WFP)also ran along with the dignitaries.

“This is the ultimate opportunity for athletes to demonstrate their support for the work of the UN Environment Programme in protecting the environment for the past decades.” – Mr. Tergat, co-organizer of the races with UNEP and Athletics Kenya

Mr. Tergat says the landmark partnership between sports and the environment in which celebrities can use their iconic status for the cause of the environment.

Amina Mohamed, UNEP’s deputy executive director, commended the participants in today’s races.

“We also thank the wider public for not only joining this event but also for showing commitment to continue supporting UNEP in its work to protect the environment.” – Ms. Mohamed

Since 1994, UNEP has been integrating its work on the environment with sport and its initiatives in the world of sport have grown considerably.

UNEP has worked on greening the Turin, Beijing and Vancouver Olympic Games. On May 2011, UNEP has declared commitment together with leading partners in building the 2014 Winter Olympic venues in Sochi to safeguard the Russian city’s unique ecosystem.

UNEP has already submitted to the organizing committee 17 environmental projects that cover key areas including zero waste and climate neutrality. The waste programme aims to develop a plan for waste management that focuses on sustainable consumption, recycling and safe disposal, including new waste collection and processing facilities and procurement of environmentally friendly products, manufactured from low-impact, recycled and recyclable materials.

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