Nairobi — With a winning time of 1:00:27 upcoming runner Victor Kipchirchir came in first among the more than 200 runners who competed in today's 40th Anniversary celebratory run for the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). Mercy Chemutai came in first in the women category with a time of 1:12:51.
"UNEP is proud to partner with Kenya's finest runners who have joined us today for this historic Half Marathon that will celebrate UNEP's four decades of working for the environment and raising public awareness of what more needs to be done to ensure the sustainable future of our planet. 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," said Amina Mohamed, UNEP's Deputy Executive Director.
Some runners used the competition to prepare for upcoming major international races like the London Marathon in April and even the Olympics in August.
Over 300 participants joined in a Fun Run of five kilometers, which included Paul Tergat, who held the world marathon record from 2003-2007 and Patrick Makau, the current world marathon record holder set last year at the Berlin Marathon.
The winners of the Half-Marathon (mens and womens) each took home a check for 100,000 Kenyan Shillings, with other cash prizes for each runner who finished up to tenth place.
Organized by UNEP, in partnership with the Paul Tergat Foundation and the Athletics Kenya, the two celebratory runs also coincided with the convening of the 12th Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC/GMEF). Dignitaries and officials from 150 countries attending the meeting were invited to participate in a shorter five-kilometer run.
"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 four decades," said Paul Tergat, founder of the Paul Tergat Foundation.
"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," he added.
Since 1994, UNEP has been integrating its work on the environment with sport and its initiatives in the world of sport have grown considerably. Today, it advises countries and sports federations on incorporating environmental considerations into all major sporting events.
In support of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20, in June, UNEP is providing assistance to the Brazilian authorities for two major future sporting events: the FIFA World Cup 2014 and the Olympics in Brazil in 2016.