Over One Million People To Sprint To Fight Hunger
Over one million people to sprint to fight hunger - UN
27 March 2008 - More than one million people will take part in the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)-backed World Harmony Run, the world's longest global relay, which took a running start today in a bid to tackle hunger and poverty.
Relay teams will carry a torch over the seven month-long Run, which will span 24,000 kilometres in dozens of countries in Europe and North Africa, as well as the United States and Australia.
"For FAO, the twinning together of sports and development is a long tradition," said the agency's Deputy Director-General James Butler.
He noted that last year, 10,000 people took part in the FAO Run For Food Race to mark World Food Day. "Sports events such as this are an excellent way to help raise awareness."
The two decade-old World Harmony Run kicked off at FAO Headquarters in Rome at a ceremony attended by Africa's first New York City Marathon winner and UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) Ambassador Tegla Loroupe and FAO Goodwill Ambassador Gina Lollobrigida.
After the lighting of the torch, runners took off for the Colosseum and the Campidoglio. From there, the runners will cover from 100 to 150 kilometres daily in teams of 10 to 12, aiming to arrive in Prague, Czech Republic, by early October. Some 500 children are expected to assist every day with the run to help provide food and lodging for the participants.
Similar events will take place in other regions of the world in parallel to raise awareness of the crucial problem of hunger.