Posted January. 29, 2009 07:03,
The Dong-A Marathon, which marks its 80th anniversary this year as Koreas leading marathon, has nurtured and supported promising Korean marathoners and helped children in poor African countries.
In 2007, the organizers began the event 42.195 is Love to guide children at home and abroad who cannot afford to run even though they want to do.
With the money raised through the marathon, the event invited three young Kenyan runners to Korea, supported a potable water development program, and helped provide education to children in Africa.
Since April last year, the marathon has run the Hope Ethiopia Project in collaboration with World Vision, an international relief organization, to provide systematic marathon training for children in Ethiopia.
Training is taking place in the small town of Dijeluna Tijo in Arsi, about 200 kilometers southeast of the Ethiopian capital of Addis Abba.
For Arsi residents, the marathon is hope as natives include Haile Gebrselassie, the multiple world marathon record holder; Fatuma Roba, the gold medalist in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics; and Gezahegne Abera, the gold medalist in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
A task force in Ethiopia is supporting 70 promising young marathoners between the ages of nine and 17 by giving athletic shoes and uniforms and also developing new varieties of crops that can be fundamental solutions to poverty. The number of beneficiaries of the project is nearly 7,000, including children, their relatives and townspeople.
The project also educates future trainers.
Dong-A staff will visit Arsi next month to monitor the progress of the project and hold events. The daily will also provide extensive coverage of Ethiopian children who strive to achieve their dreams.
Those who want to support the project can visit the Dong-A Marathon homepage at marathon.donga.com or call World Vision Korea at (02) 784-2004.