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The Nike+ Human Race: The Human Race comes to Geneva


Almost 100 UNHCR staff members and supporters sacrificed their lunch on a Friday in August 2008 to pound the streets of Geneva and raise money for the education of refugee children in Chad.

On 29 August 2008, the UN refugee agency held a 10-kilometre run and a 5-km walk along Lake Geneva and around the leafy UN quarter of the Swiss city as part of the Nike+ Human Race. The race is an annual fund-raising event with an estimated one million runners gathering in 25 cities around the world to raise at least US$500,000 for UNHCR.

With five minutes to go before the scheduled start, the Geneva event looked doomed to fail – with just a handful of people waiting in their running shorts and UNHCR T-shirts in front of the UNHCR headquarters. But then a flood of amateur athletes of all sizes, ages and colours arrived, just in time for the race to begin.

UNHCR, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Lance Armstrong Foundation were the three beneficiaries of funds raised by the Nike+ Human Race. Nike pledged to give each of the three beneficiaries US$500,000. Runners could specify which of the three organisations they wished to support, and their preferences were then used to allocate any extra monies raised.

The UN refugee agency has runners in all corners of the world helping to elevate the cause of refugee children through the Nike+ Human Race. From sole UNHCR staff members running in Dakar, Senegal and Tbilisi, Georgia, to the 3,000 refugees and host community members running in Nepal.