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The 10K: UNICEF Colombia's race for more than just records

Proceeds from the 2016 version of the UNICEF 10K went to the Colombian region of La Guajira (Photo: AIPS America)
by Constanza Mora Pedraza, AIPS Member, Colombia

BOGOTÁ, October 17, 2017 – In Colombia, a number of cities are beginning to organize athletics competitions, and the overall number of races throughout the year has grown rapidly. This is a push in the right direction for athletics in the country, as it is no secret that for many years now Colombia has been lacking presence in long-distance tests at an international level.

These races are recreational for the thousands of fans who go out on the weekends with their families or friends to enjoy doing sports, and in recent years such races have become a part of the sports calendars of elite athletes. However, what is missing is a category for promising young athletes for whom such races could be a great platform and which could be a gateway to discovering the nation’s great talents.

But there is something beyond this competitive aspect, a race where the final position and time registered are not the most important, but that does include elite athletes. The UNICEF 10K race has a different aim which goes beyond sports results. Here, funds from the participation fee are used to improve the quality of life of children and adolescents from disadvantages areas in Colombia. The 2017 version of the race will help those affected in Chocó, an area heavily affected by flooding earlier in the year.

In 2017, the region of Chocó, affected by flooding and heavy rain will benefit from UNICEF's !)k race and the Laces that Link Dreams program (Photo: AIPS America)

UNICEF (The United Nations Children’s Fund)

UNICEF was created as an emergency fund of the United Nations General Assembly in 1946, after the Second World War, as millions of children were left in a vulnerable state; since then its main aim has been the protection of children beyond any distinction of race, nationality or religion. UNICEF Colombiawas established in 1950 and has worked especially for the State and society to guarantee the rights, social inclusion and non-violence of children and adolescents. Since 1953 it became a permanent entity of the United Nations system, and expanded to help children throughout the world. UNICEF is now present in 190 countries and territories around the world.

The 10K

This will be the ninth version of the UNICEF 10K in Colombia, a race that boasts the participation of more than 50,000 runners. Especially for elite athletes, the layout of the UNICEF 10K is known for its high technical standards, as the course has been internationally certified by the IAAF and by the Colombian Athletics Federation, which guarantees the participation of the best runners of the country. This will stimulate participation from those wishing to compete recreationally, but who at the same time want to improve their own records while helping the country's children.

Among the top Colombian athletes who have been part of the history of UNICF 10K are Angie Orjuela, Carolina Tabares, Leidy Lozano, Yolanda Fernández, Alirio Carrasco, Diego Colorado, Jason Gutiérrez, Juan Pablo Rangel and Miguel Ángel Amador.

The race will be held in Bogota on Sunday, October 29 from 9:00 am with four categories for both female and male runners: Elite (over 18 years old and enrolled by the Colombian Athletics Federation and invited international runners), Open (over 18 and who have not been or are part of a national league), Master (Runners between 40 and 49 years old) and Plus (Over 50 years old).

This will also be the second year in which "Laces that Link Dreams" will be used as a symbol, of how the race is linked with the children’s dreams.

As always, the money that is received by the inscriptions is used to help the most in need of the country;

Last year the funds from a participation of over 6,000 went to the children of La Guajira, a county that suffers from lack of drinking water, not only in the towns and surrounding areas but in the indigenous communities, and last year’s drought generated a state of emergency in the county.

This time the money will be destined to those affected by the heavy rains in the Chocó, a county that is the only one that is bordered by two oceans, the Pacific and the Atlantic.

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