6,000 attendees from more than 130 countries
KUWAIT: The ‘Gulf Bank 642 Marathon’ was an unprecedented success with 6,000 attendees and more than 130 nationalities represented in Kuwait’s most exciting walk/run event. The event kicked off at 7:30 am on Nov 18, and Souq Sharq was buzzing with anticipation and energy. Enthusiam for the event was high and three distance categories (5km, 10km, and 21km) were sold out before the day.
Ms Laila Al-Qatami, Assistant General Manager for Corporate Communications at Gulf Bank said: “The atmosphere at this year’s edition of the ‘Gulf Bank 642 Marathon’ was exhilarating and the event was a tremendous achievement. This is a very dear initiative for us, as it demonstrates both our commitment to social responsibility and our commitment to our beloved country, Kuwait. It is also a reflection of Gulf Bank’s strong support for Kuwaiti entreprenuers, when we met the Pro-Vision team in 2015, we saw Kuwaitis with a vision and determination to hold successful sporting events. We strongly believe that we’ve created, through our partnership with them and in cooperation with our partners and supporters, an event that our entire country can be proud of, and puts Kuwait on the international sporting map.”
Commenting on the support received from Kuwaiti government ministries and authorities, as well as from the sponsors, Ms Al-Qatami noted: “The strong support we received from the Kuwait government for this event is part of what made this world-class event flow so smoothly, we extend our sincere appreciation to the Ministry of Interior, the Public Authority for Sport, the Kuwaiti Municipality, Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Center, and the Ministry of Information for their backing. We also thank our platinum sponsors Zain and Chevrolet Alghanim, along with other many other sponsors. The companies and non-profit organizations who had space in our village area, brought even more life to the ‘Gulf Bank 642 Marathon.’ We also strongly thank all the enthusiastic participants who came out early as early as 6:30am to take part in the big day. It was also fantastic to see so many companies who had teams participating in the day, it is inspiring to see so many people leading an active lifestyle. Congratulations to all the winners!”
Ahmed Al Huzaimi, CEO of Pro-Vision Sport Management said; “When we partnered with Gulf Bank, we set a vision to develop an event that would put Kuwait on the international sporting map. We believe we have certainly done that and have created something that exceeds our growing expectations, we know that the ‘Gulf Bank 642 Marathon’ is truly unique. This is the only road race in Kuwait to have three of its longer distance categories accredited by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS), meaning they serve as qualifying events for major international marathons. Due to high demand, the three distance categories (5K, 10K, and 21K) were sold out days before the event, with many marathon runners from overseas joining the race.”
With regard to route path, Al-Huzaimi added: “One of the things that sets this event apart from all others, is that participants are able to tour the landmarks of Kuwait. The race path began at Souq Sharq and moved on the Arabian Gulf Road, where participants passed by Al Seif Palace, the Grand Mosque; Boursa Kuwait; the Gulf Bank head office; and Souq Al Mubarakiya where the vendors are always upbeat and add so much excitement of the event. Then, depending on the distance category in participants chose (5km, 10km, 21km, or 42km) they continued to tour Kuwait’s landmarks such as Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Center; the National Assembly; the Ministry of Oil, and even the Kuwait Towers.”
For the second consecutive year the ‘Gulf Bank 642 Marathon’ partnered with the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees), also known as the UN Refugee Agency, and its campaign, #Voices4Refugees. UNHCR launched the #Voices4Refugees campaign in 2015, which is an electronic initiative inviting you to register your names in a global petition claiming the right of every refugee to live in safety and dignity regardless of religion, nationality or race, and to equal treatment in terms of protection, assistance and resettlement opportunities. The campaign also seeks to gather your signatures and express your moral solidarity with these refugees through the campaign’s marathon website https://voices.unhcr.org/en/gulfbank as this solidarity shows them that the world is aware of their suffering and supports them in facing these challenges. By adding your voice to the #Voices4Refugees campaign, you will be calling for immediate and practical steps that can improve humanitarian access and the delivery of aid to those in need.
The day also had some special surprises in the village area. Popular radio station 88.8 FM Kuwait Pulse and their hosts were broadcasting live at the event. The leading social media influencers also made special appearances during the event. But the biggest surprise was the attendance of Kuwait’s soccer legends at this sporting event. We thank Saad Al Hooti; Fathi Kameel; Jasim Yacoub; and Salah Al Hasawi for coming out for the day and inspiring everyone.
Gulf Bank also had the village area buzzing with their always fun, ‘Catch the Cash’ game. This game is exclusive to Gulf Bank and the crowd was eager for their chance in the money box. Teams of two persons, who correctly answered questions posed the MC, were able to get in the box and catch as much cash as they could within the time limit. There were more than 20 booths in the village which added fun to the event .
Gulf Bank and Pro-Vision Sports Management would like to thank the Kuwait government and governmental agencies whose contributions were crucial to a successful event day. A special thanks to the Ministry of Interior and Kuwait Police whose support and efforts were crucial to making race day safe and secure for all those who took part. Our appreciation is also extended to Souq Sharq who have been hosts of this ever growing event. Thank you Kuwait!