Sharjah: More than 5,000 runners are expected to participate in the 5th Friends of Arthritis Patients Association (FoAP) Marathon in Sharjah on Saturday.

The annual event, organised by the Supreme Council for Family Affairs in collaboration with Sharjah Police and Sharjah Sports Council, aims to raise awareness about arthritis. Held under the slogan ‘Future in Your Hands’, the marathon will start from Al Mamzar beach in Sharjah.

The charity run will see four different age groups running for a distance of up to 8km.

Waheeda Abdul Aziz, head of FoAP, said: “Through this event, we aim to raise public awareness about arthritis — causes, symptoms and methods of treatment — and provide moral and financial support to patients. We are looking forward to a broader participation from all segments of society in this awareness and humanitarian initiative.”

Participants will be divided into four groups according to age. Runners in the age group of 3 to 10 will compete in the 2km marathon.

The second phase of the marathon will be for 5km, for the age group of 11 to 17 years, while the third phase, 8km, will be for 18 year olds and above. In addition, senior citizens will also participate in a 1km walkathon.

Winners in the four categories will be awarded cash prizes and other giveaways.

A large number of participants from government departments, schools and universities as well as individuals and families have registered for the competition.

Since 2009, 8,000 runners have participated in four marathons organised by FoAP in support of arthritis patients.