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Twenty Lonely Orphan runners run The Big Half

Emdad Rahman

THE BETHNAL GREEN-BASED Lonely Orphans charity took to the roads today – Sunday, 1st March – to raise awareness and much needed funds for Uyghur orphans. They joined more than 16,000 runners on the streets of the British capital in the third edition of The Vitality Big Half, London’s community half marathon.

The team of 20 led the charge as part of the charity’s plans to raise awareness of humanitarian issues through engaging the community through healthy lifestyle initiatives. The current campaign is focussing on supporting Uyghur refugees and the response from the community has been very positive.

In the elite men’s race, Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia set a new course record of 60:22 on his first appearance at The Vitality Big Half. The race was part of his preparations to to take on Kenyan legend Eliud Kipchoge at the Virgin Money London Marathon in April.

Great Britain’s Lily Partridge was the first woman home, winning in 70:50 – and making it third time lucky, after coming fifth at the event in 2019 and second in 2018.

Canada’s Brent Lakatos took the win in the men’s wheelchair race in a new course record time of 48:44, beating Great Britain’s David Weir into the runner-up position. Both men are also building up to the Virgin Money London Marathon in April, which will be Weir’s 21st consecutive appearance at the event. In the women’s wheelchair race, Shelly Woods won on her debut, finishing in 62.02.

Behind the elite runners, a record 16,222 crossed the Finish Line by the Cutty Sark in Greenwich today, enjoying the clear and bright conditions to complete the third edition of the event, a community running festival for everyone, no matter their age, background or running ability.

The #MovedbyLondon campaign was launched before last year’s Vitality Big Half to encourage Londoners from a variety of diverse running communities to take part in the event. One of the community groups taking part for the first time this year was Run with Purpose, a collective set up to help men overcome mental health issues through running and socialising.

Lonely Orphans Team member Mushahid Kadir recapped his day, saying, “The run was tough but the crowds were a huge boost all throughout. I joined my team mates and over 15,000 runners today to raise awareness and funds for the vital contributions our charities in the UK make. I’m really proud of our collective achievements.”

Md Imran, Fundraising Manager at Lonely Orphans, said, “A huge thanks to the organisers for such a splendid, happy, healthy event. The main thing that stood out for me was the unity amongst runners and the crowds that flocked to see them. It was an event that welcomed and valued everybody equally. We are very proud to have taken part. Lastly, thank you to our runners and supporters. You made a good day great!”

•Lonely Orphans
Lonely Orphans is a UK based charity working to serve others in order to help orphans and the vulnerable among them around the world. The team endeavour to empower the disadvantaged by giving aid with dignity.
Lonely Orphans want to help fight poverty and injustice for a better future and have been working with the Rohingya people since 2013. Dubbed the most persecuted ethnic group on Earth, the charity had helped thousands of vulnerable women and children with emergency food, shelter, medicine among many other amenities.
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