Inaugural ASEAN Unity Run Embracing Unity, Community and Harmony
A half marathon, fun run and community lifestyle event all rolled into one? It's all part of the one-of-a-kind ASEAN Unity Run 2015 launched during the ASEAN Day Celebrations on Sunday, 9 August. Held at Padang Merbok in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the inaugural run was organised with the aim of fostering ties and building community engagement while promoting a healthy lifestyle in the region.
In the true spirit of ASEAN unity, more than 9,500 runners participated across the various categories, representing more than 20 nations from around the world. Graced by Prime Minister YAB Dato' Sri Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, the ASEAN Unity Run 2015 commemorated ASEAN Day with the release of ten doves, which symbolise peace and unity amongst the ten ASEAN nations.
Competing in the 21 km Men's and Women's Open, top runners bagged cash prizes up to RM5,000 for the first place. Meanwhile, families, kids and special needs individuals had unique opportunities to participate in five non-competitive categories including 10 km Run, 5 km Fun Run, 5 km Stroller Run, Celebrity Run, and the Lend Your Body campaign run.
ASEAN Unity Run 2015 has been a truly international run, with participants from around the world, including the USA, China, India, as well as all of ASEAN nations. We are proud to have been able to use this platform to promote ASEAN values and the goal of unity and harmony amongst ASEAN countries.
I believe we have achieved our objective of helping to foster greater ties and unity within the community while also providing an opportunity for people of all walks of life and of all ages to participate in a health and fitness activity. In addition to that, this run has also been for a good cause, as we have raised RM33,000 for our charity partners UNICEF.
—Dato' Mohamed Hazali Bin Abu Hassan, President of Event Organiser, Aman Malaysia
Running Together Side by Side
Minister of International Trade & Industry, YB Dato' Seri Mustapha Mohamed and Minister of Youth & Sports, YB Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar led the call to fitness by example by running in the 5 km too.
I really enjoyed myself during the run today. I believe that everyone, no matter how old you are or what job you may have, should take the time and effort to participate regularly in health and fitness activities. The ASEAN Unity Run 2015 is a great example of how community driven events can be held for a charitable cause while forming the catalyst for growing healthy habits amongst the youth.
—YB Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar, Malaysian Youth & Sport Minister
ASEAN nations' embassies also participated to show their support. Among them are the Ambassador of Japan and Philippines, Deputy Ambassador of Indonesia and Brunei, Singapore Counsellor, as well as representatives from Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia.
Running For Fun and For Charity
One of the more unique runs was the Stroller Run, where parents and their babies and toddlers had the unique occasion to get fit together, even if the young ones were only being pushed in strollers over the 5 km distance!
The big crowd-pullers were charity runs the Celebrity Run and Lend Your Body campaign. Stars such as Azura Zainal, Datuk DJ Dave, Ummi Nazeera and Chia Yen-Yi took part in the Celebrity Run, giving their fans a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to run a race beside them.
Together with the Ras Adiba Radzi's Perwira K9 Foundation, the Lend Your Body campaign sought to break the stigma towards disabled people in Malaysia and across the ASEAN region. Through this awareness-raising initiative, differently-abled individuals experience running a race for the first time as they were pushed on wheelchairs by Malaysian celebrities such as Patricia Knudsen, Ng Chelsia, Kevin Chong, Kayda Aziz, Ariff Karim, and many more.
Of Course, There's More To Running
Off the running course, there was a lot of hype at the Race Village too. Providing fun family entertainment for all, the village was filled with various food stalls, carnival booths, and pavilions representing ministry bodies, sponsors, and associations. Every participant also had the chance to be one of the many winners in the exciting lucky draw too.
UNICEF, the charity partner for the ASEAN Unity Run, was also presented at the Race Village, where members of the public could donate to further its mission to help children and women around the world. Other event partners included Exclusive Apparel Partner Brooks, Official Event Partners ASEAN Chairmanship 2015, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Tourism, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.