ISLAMABAD: Despite injuries, detours and pollen allergies, Pakistan Day celebrations remained abuzz at Froebels International School as students, parents, faculty and sports enthusiasts participated in the “Race for a Reason”.
The event also served as an announcement that Froebels has signed up with the World Wide Fund for Nature Wildlife Fund as a green school. The initiative aims to encourage environmental awareness among students and the public.
Media Coordinator Laleen Khan, herself braving pollen allergies all day, told The Express Tribune that the event was open to all to raise awareness about fundraising for environmental conservation around the city. She noted, “We want all citizens of Pakistan to strive towards a greener nation, not just Froebelians.”
The event attracted the likes of international marathon runner Mimmo Caraccioli, who has run 47 marathons in the last eight years. “The marathon provided me a great opportunity to run in Pakistan,” Caraccioli said, adding that running with young students was a novel experience for him.
The marathon had three components—race-walking, cycling and running under four categories from ages 3 to 18 plus. About 250 people took part in the marathon. Little ones aged 3 to 10 remained close to the campus and cheered on the participants. Category 1 (11-14) covered a distance of 6.5 km, category 2 (14-16) covered 7.5 km, category 3 (16-18) covered 10 km and category 4 (18+) covered 16 km.
The Islamabad Traffic Police and the Capital Development Authority helped manage the traffic on Parbat Road, Hill Road and Margalla Road so that the runners would not be interrupted. Two first aid stations, five doctors and three ambulances were also available on route.
Haider of A’levels was one of the top three cyclists but his near triumph came to an unfortunate stop when he fell off his bike. He candidly shared with The Express Tribune that despite his injury, he is glad to have taken part in the event, saying that the day was not about winning but celebrating Pakistan Day and conservation.
The organisers had distributed maps to all participants, in addition to specially made T-shirts for easy identification. However, the young are not one to respond readily to instructions. Category 3 participants went off route on Hill Road and had to be brought back on track by the sports teacher on a bike. Of the lot, Ali Safdar was the only one who used his map and came in first.
“I realize I need a lot more cardio and this was a good way to get it, but it is an even better way to get to talk to girls,” he beamed after his win.
The opening ceremony was presided over by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Sports Minister Syed Aqil Shah, Senator Sardar Ali Khan, K-P Population Welfare Minister Saleem Khan and K-P Speaker Karamatullah Khan.
Proceeds from the event are to be utilised for Froebel’s Green Growth Initiatives, with the objective of promoting awareness, education and regional knowledge about safeguarding and improving environmental conditions in the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 24th, 2012.