UN environment agency celebrates anniversary with star-filled races

Former marathon champion Paul Tergat (right) and current world record-holder Partick Makau brief press. Photo: UNIFEED

19 February 2012 – Hundreds of runners took to the roads of Nairobi, Kenya, earlier today to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and raise awareness about green issues.

More than 200 runners competed in a half-marathon race and over 300 others took part in a five-kilometre fun run, the agency reported in a press release.

Many of the competitors in the half-marathon were elite runners in training for events such as the London Marathon in April and the Summer Olympics in August. Victor Kipchirchir won the race in a time of 1 hour and 27 seconds and 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 such luminaries as 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).

“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,” said Mr. Tergat, whose foundation co-organized the races with UNEP and Athletics Kenya.

“This is a landmark partnership between sports and the environment in which celebrities can use their iconic status for the cause of the environment, for which I have a personal passion and commitment.”

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,” she said.


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