Thousands unite across Africa to take part in IAAF Run 24-1

Almost 6000 runners in total took part in the five IAAF Run 24-1 events throughout Africa as people of all ages came together with star athletes under sunny skies to celebrate the joy of running.

The island nation of Mauritius was the first African stop of the 24-nation tour with more than 2800 runners – many of them children – gathering in Rose-Hill.

“It was fantastic to see a whole nation together, a big, dynamic crowd, young people playing and singing,” one participant said. “There was a really good atmosphere and it must be repeated because it unites an entire nation and it reminded us of good things.”

An hour later, IAAF Run 24-1 moved to Kenya – considered by many to be the spiritual home of distance running – for the one-mile run at the Nairobi National Park.

One of the nation’s greatest athletes, Olympic 5000m champion and five-time world champion Vivian Cheruiyot, helped inspire a whole new generation by leading a group of 660 men and women of all ages around the course.

“It’s been a good race, we’ve really enjoyed it,” said the 2018 London Marathon champion. “It should happen every year because it’s a wonderful event and we need it every year here in Kenya.”

Athletics Kenya president, Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei, also participated in the run as Nairobi warms up to host the IAAF World U20 Championships next year.

“This has been a wonderful time and those who ran have really enjoyed themselves,” he said. “We want to encourage this kind of culture in Kenya so that Kenyans can come out to run and keep fit and encourage our athletes who have done well in the past.”

Following stops in Gaza, Copenhagen, Istanbul and Milan, IAAF Run 24-1 returned to Africa for its next two legs.

Botswana Athletics Association President Thari Mooketsi may have been the last to finish at the IAAF Run 24-1 event in Gaborone, but he was nonetheless delighted.

“The mile went well,” he said. “It was worth it because I can’t remember the last time I exercised. But thanks to the run I managed to sweat and I feel very refreshed.”

The IAAF Run 24-1 event in the Cameroonian capital Yaoundé attracted leaders from sport, business and culture, including two-time Olympic triple jump champion Françoise Mbango Etone, mountain runner Sarah Etonge and national football legend Roger Milla.

Clad in t-shirts that read ‘cours avec moi vers l’avenir’ (run with me to the future), more than 1400 runners converged on the city’s central Boulevard de Stade Omnisports, many of them running their #FirstMile.

“As a vice president of the IAAF, I am so proud that Yaounde has organised such a good event with great athletes and great sportsmen and women like Roger Milla, Françoise Mbango and Sarah Etonge as well as many presidents of other sports and corporates,” said African Athletics Confederation President Hamad Kalkaba, who was a guest at the event.

Bogota and Havana hosted the next two stops of the tour before it embarked on the fifth and final African event.

Rabat, host of the annual IAAF Diamond League meeting, is the only African nation to have staged an IAAF Run 24-1 event in both 2018 and 2019.

Two-time world 400m hurdles champion Nezha Bidouane and 2012 world indoor 1500m champion Abdelaati Iguider, the city captain, joined more than 600 runners in the Moroccan capital.

“I feel excited and lucky to be a part of this global event,” commented one of the participants. “One mile is the perfect distance because anyone of any age can run it in any conditions.”


2 June 2019