"Today was a great day of team spirit and dedication from a group of people determined to run and walk for the greatest cause – helping those in need in the most disadvantaged parts of the world",said ADRA-UK Ambassador, Michaela Mathieu-Marius as hundreds of individuals participated in the ADRA-UK Fun Run held at Crystal Palace Park on Sunday 16 April 2017.
Participants taking part in the 13-mile run were raising funds for Swaziland, Somalia, Nepal, Thailand, Chad and Rwanda in addition to several UK projects.
The 10:00 am start began with prayer by Pastor Kirk Thomas after which the faster pacemakers were on their way. Those who preferred a slower pace speed walked their way around the one mile lap route. Participants were encouraged to run or walk three laps to complete the course.
The fun in the running became more apparent when groups from various churches went around together in jovial mood in laughter and cheer. There were groups from Newbold College of Higher Education, and the Romanian church who all contributed to a fun-spirited atmosphere.
Among those taking part were members from the Hackney Seventh-day Adventist church, the youngest of which was just three years old, all running for a worthwhile cause.
11-year-old Yushanna Kayle Okanlawon completed 3 miles before picking up an injury. She said: "It was fun. It helps us to keep fit whilst at the same time raising money for those less fortunate than us. Hopefully more children can take part next year."
For Dillon Lee, 13, the run proved to be a great challenge. "At times it was tiring but you will yourself to keep going, knowing that at the end you have achieved something that will benefit others."
Sochi Enwerem, age 9, liked that there was no added pressure to win. He said: "When I realised that the run did not focus on the need to win but instead on having fun, it made me enjoy it more and I clocked up 4.5 miles", he said enthusiastically.
The group of runners had prepared for the race a month in advance during some intense but fun training sessions at Victoria Park with Ama Enwerem and Sonia Ama – themselves experienced runners. Sonia, who is also Hackney's Junior Sabbath School leader, was proud of the young people's efforts. She said: "It was so exciting seeing our young people run for such a worthwhile cause. Unbelievably our youngest runner was just 3 years old! It's an honour to run for God and raise money for individuals whom our Father has called us to help."
Quite inspiring were participants aging from as young as three – Macy Evans who completed the course with her mother, and Samuel Brown ‒ 80 years of age who outpaced many of the younger ones.
On sale were the specially designed ADRA Fun Run T-shirts which were quite popular and ample bottles of water which were freely available for all. The first aid stand were also on standby and fortunately were not needed for any major mishaps. Those who completed the three laps were presented with a certificate of achievement.
SEC Health Ministries director Dr Chidi Ngwaba, who also completed the course said, "it's a beautiful day, great crowds, I'm happy with the distance I covered, that's what this is all about, family and church friends coming out together for a good cause." But the last word goes to 6-year-old Nathan Henry, who after clocking an amazing 7.5 miles had this to say: "I was so happy to get an ice lolly from my mum after all that running!"
It is expected that fundraising gained from the day through sponsorship will amount to over £3000.
Congratulations to all those who participated and contributed to a truly fun run day.