Global relay for hunger draws 1 mn participants

Written by Agencies | New York, March 28: | Updated: Mar 28 2008, 15:56pm hrs
Over one million people are expected to participate in the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)-backed World Harmony Run, the world's longest global relay, which will focus on the problem of hunger and poverty.

The two decade-old World Harmony Run kicked off at FAO Headquarters in Rome yesterday, at a ceremony attended by UNICEF Ambassador Tegla Loroupe, FAO Goodwill Ambassador Gina Lollobrigida and Africa's first New York City marathon winner.

After the lighting of the torch, runners took off for the Colosseum and the Campidoglio. From there, they will cover 100 to 150 kilometers daily in teams of 10 to 12, aiming to arrive in Prague, Czech Republic, by early October.

About 500 children are expected to assist every day with the run to help provide food and lodging for the participants. Relay teams will carry a torch 24,000 kilometers through dozens of countries in Europe, North Africa, the United States and Australia.

"For FAO, the twinning together of sports and development is a long tradition. Sports events such as this are an excellent way to help raise awareness," said the agency's Deputy Director-General James Butler. He said 10,000 people participated in the FAO Run For Food Race to mark World Food Day last year.

Similar events will be organised in other parts of the world in parallel to raise awareness on the problem of hunger.