Dubai: The legendary road-race duo, Henry Wanyoike and Joseph Kibunja, will be running in the 10-kilometre event at the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on Friday.
Visually impaired Wanyoike, the world record holder of the 5,000-metre and 10,000m events after wins at the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Paralympics, and his long-time running partner and childhood friend Kibunja are taking part as goodwill ambassadors for ‘Seeing is Believing’. This is Standard Chartered Bank’s global programme to raise $100 million (Dh367 million) to eliminate avoidable blindness by 2020.
Wanyoike runs in races while being connected by a tether on the wrist to Kibunja, who guides him without breaking stride, through the obstacles, turns or when he wants to accelerate along the route.
As ‘Seeing is Believing’ ambassadors, the duo will be visiting schools and some of Standard Chartered’s clients across Dubai to create awareness about the programme and inspire other people with their experience.
They will also be visiting the Rashid Paediatric Therapy Centre to inspire children with special needs.
Wanyoike said: “The Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon has always been a special event for us because of the enthusiasm of the local running community to be part of our advocacy. We are therefore very excited to be back in Dubai to share our stories and experiences with the growing number of supporters of the ‘Seeing is Believing’ programme and to ultimately enjoy the fellowship with other running enthusiasts from the UAE and all over the world.”
Standard Chartered is setting up a ‘Seeing is Believing’ tent at the Marathon Village to create awareness about the initiative and raise funds. The booth will be manned by Standard Chartered employees who will provide visitors with information about the programme and sell merchandise.
Standard Chartered has been the title sponsor for the Dubai marathon since 2005. The bank is the title sponsor of nine marathons across four continents.
Last year, a record number of runners registered for the three races at the marathon, with the number reaching up to 24,000 and the 3km registration for the first time closing a week before the race.
The 2014 event is Standard Chartered’s 10th year of sponsoring the Dubai Marathon, where more than 550 Standard Chartered employees have registered to run and 160 more have signed up as volunteers.