DUBAI — Over 3,000 participants and a team of skydivers took part in a five-kilometre run/walk to raise diabetes awareness at Zabeel Park on Thursday morning.
Approximately, 3,212 participants registered for the international Diabetes Federation (IDF) event that was held to raise awareness about diabetes and the need to further invest in diabetes care.
The walkathon kicked off in a unique way, as skydivers from the Dubai Sky Dive team put together an aerial show for the participants.
The official ‘IDF 5K Run/Walk’ supported by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and sponsored by Sanofi, was a fitting finale to the prestigious World Diabetes Congress, Dubai 2011, which concluded on Thursday.
“We are very pleased with the outcome and it is wonderful to see so many people gathered here, united for the same cause to raise awareness about diabetes,” said DHA Director-General Qadhi Saeed Al Murooshid.
“This is the third IDF 5K Run/Walk — the first in the Middle East — and it has been just as successful as the previous two,” said Luc Hendrickx, IDF director of Congresses and Governance.
The male participant to cross the finish line first was 24-year-old Dejene Amosha Feysa from Ethiopia, who finished the run in 14.02 minutes. He beat the record of the previous IDF run winner, Bradley Keefe, who finished the IDF marathon in Montreal in 2009 in 17.46 minutes.
Among the female participants, 20–year-old Maebet Belew also from Ethiopia came first clocking 15. 18 minutes.
Dejene said, “I am keen to promote the importance of fitness and regular exercise especially because when I look around, I see how hooked onto fast-food the youth is. That’s the reason I look part in this marathon.”
It was heart warming to see the enthusiasm of 35-year-old Ayesha Al Muhairi, Emirati who completed the walk on a wheelchair.
She said, “I got polio when I was one. Since then, I have been on a wheelchair but I wanted to prove to myself that I can also take part in such events. Physical activity is so important to prevent diseases like diabetes, which is highly prevalent in my country and I believe that if I want to change, I should first learn to be the ambassador of change and I hope that people, especially young children who took part in the marathon today, realise the importance of physical activity.”