Thursday, April 5, 2007

Runners Finish Mega Marathon Across Sahara to Raise Awareness

Three ultrarunners Charlie Engle of the USA, Ray Zahab of Canada, and Kevin Lin of Taiwan just finished their 111 day journey across the Sahara Desert to raise awareness about the water crisis and poverty. They ran 7300 km (4580 mile) in 4 months the equivalent of two marathons a day for nearly four months. This was a very difficult task with the runners enduring extreme heat as well as adverse weather and insects.

UNDP hosted the runners for their journey across the desert providing supplies and shelter along their trip. Actor/ filmmaker Matt Damon traveled along with the men to document the incredible journey they embarked on. Damon is partnering with H20 Africa to raise awareness and funds for projects in the region. UNDP's role as coproducers was to work with the governments of the six countries they traveled through to make sure that the runners were welcome and safe during their trip. According to UNDP’s 2006 Human Development Report, a lack of clean water and sanitation causes nearly two million child deaths every year. This documentary will be released later this year and will hopefully bring awareness to the increasingly harsh reality of water scarcity.