New Zealand Kids First In The World To Race On World Marathon Day

Tuesday 4 October 2011, 4:23PM
By Save the Children New Zealand

On Wednesday, 5 October 2011, students from Ashburton, Wellington and Christchurch will join thousands of children across the globe in Save the Children‘s first ever EVERY ONE World Marathon Challenge.

Ashburton Intermediate will be the first team in the world to race on the official day of the Marathon.

In the largest event of its kind ever attempted, three New Zealand teams will race 53 other teams from 11 different countries to break Patrick Makau’s new world record marathon time.

The Marathon Challenge is in support of Save the Children’s EVERY ONE campaign which is a campaign to help save the lives of the more than 8 million children who die every year from easily treatable and preventable causes like diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia. It is a campaign that calls for change.

Each team of 31 is aiming to beat the marathon world record time of 2 hrs 3 minutes and 38 seconds, set only last week by Kenya's Patrick Makau and will run a 42 kilometer marathon in 200 meter relays.

Ethiopia’s Haile Gebrselassie, who is a supporter of Save the Children’s EVERY ONE campaign and previously held the record for three years, says it is so important that mothers and children get access to trained health workers and the right medicine.

“I lost my mother at a young age when she died in childbirth. And in my home village far too many children still die young,” he says.

The event comes just two weeks after world leaders met at the UN General Assembly to discuss how to save mothers and children’s lives and address the global gap of 3.5 million health workers – doctors, nurses, midwives and community health workers – in the poorest countries.

This event is about children raising awareness for other children and demanding more be done to save the lives of the world’s poorest children.

More than 8 million children die every year needlessly – that’s one child every three seconds says Save the Children New Zealand CEO Liz Gibbs.

“To save more children’s lives the world urgently needs more trained and well-equipped health workers. Without them, no child receives vaccines, no life-saving drugs are prescribed and no woman can be given the care she needs during childbirth.”

“To address the shortfall in global health workers we needs concrete action from governments, both in the developed and the developing world,” Ms Gibbs says.

Though they might be separated by thousands of kilometers, children in China and Mali, New Zealand and Kenya, are all racing for the same goal. They are telling world leaders that every child deserves a chance.