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Kuwait - Yasmine El Tohamy - 19,600 participant registered for the 11 kilometers race
National Bank of Kuwait (NBK)’s 25th annual walkathon kicked off the morning of Saturday 7 December from the Green Island with an astonishing 19,600 participants who have registered for the 11 kilometers race. NBK organized this special occasion to celebrate two and a half decades of this sports festival. Thousands of cheering supporters, spectators and media individuals lined the racing route on the Arabian Gulf Street to the finish line at the Shuwaikh Beach Park, where the successful event concluded with an award ceremony and a variety of entertaining activities.
Thousands of participants were walking for strength and health awareness. The Walkathon culminated with a prize giving ceremony where NBK awarded the top 100 participants, 10 winners from each of the 5 categories for both male and female and gave away many valuable prizes alongside the two brand new Renault cars from Al Babtain Group, NBK’s walkathon strategic partner.
NBK Group Chief Executive Officer, Isam Jasem Al Sager took part in the walkathon along with NBK Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer, Shaikha Khaled Al Bahar attended the awarding ceremony along with NBK- Kuwait Chief Executive Officer, Salah Yousef Al Fulaij, NBK- Kuwait Deputy CEO, Sulaiman Barrak al Marzouq, NBK General Manager Consumer Banking Group Mohammad Al Othman, NBK General Manager Group Human Resources Emad Al Ablani and NBK General Manager Operations Group Mohammed Al Kharafi and General Manager Automotive at Abdul Mohsen Abdul Aziz Al Babtain Laurent Pernet.
Speaking in front of thousands of contestants, spectators and guests who gathered at the end of the walkathon to celebrate the awarding of the first-place winners, NBK Public Relations and communications Assistant General Manager, Manal Al Mattar said: “the this year’s participation from various age categories had by far exceeded all expectations, providing yet another testament for the community with this mega event, which has become one of the much awaited NBK public activities”.
Al Mattar said: “This year, NBK walkathon celebrates its 25th anniversary. As the first sports event in Kuwait and the GCC, NBK walkathon continues today its long tradition in supporting its community”
Al Mattar commented that the great collaboration exhibited by different ministries and governmental institutions, headed by both the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Interior, in addition to the Kuwaiti Association of Athletics Federations, Al Babtain Group and Kuwait Municipality, and many others have played a great role to ensure the event’s success.
Al Mattar added “NBK strongly supports sporting events and encourages physical activities as a means to promote a healthier and more active lifestyle for members of the community. Titled “One step can change your life”, NBK’s Walkathon aimed to encourage each individual to believe in their ability towards making a change.”
Abdul Mohsen Al Rushaid, NBK Executive manager, Communications and Public relations, said “Over the past 25 years, our aim was not only to encourage people to participate but also to enjoy the event.”
“This huge event is one of the huge events in Kuwait with the best arrangements. NBK walkathon takes the safety of participants in its top priority,” he added.
“Every year, people wait for NBK’s walkathon. We are keen to meet people’s expectations every year because it’s our duty and commitment.”
NBK’s Social Media team broadcasted the Walkathon live on NBK’s Official Facebook, Twitter and Instagram page, posting the updates throughout the day.
Multiple points were set up along the race route between the Green Island and the Shuwaikh Beach Park that witnessed special festivities and celebrations. One of the celebration points arranged was a camel show; others had an exciting DJ, stilt walkers, confetti and folkloric performances.
Loyac volunteers were present at the finish line to cheer the participants, encourage them and give them memorial medals and water bottles.
Omniya’s recycling project
Volunteers from the Omniya project and NBK participated in this year’s walkathon. More than 100Volunteers gathered at the starting point, and collected plastic water bottles that were left behind by participants along the 11-kilometer race line. Omniya along with NBK volunteers collected a ton of plastic bottles at the end of the race to help recycle and keep our environment clean.
Farah Shaaban, who is one of the founders of the project, said that our partnership with NBK aims to create an initiative that encourages recycling in Kuwait. Our participation in NBK’s walkathon is part of this partnership that works to spread awareness and a real contribution in environmental activities.
By the early morning hours, organizers ensured the full readiness of the site to receive the participants. The event started after NBK volunteers finalized all required organizational and preventive measures to ensure the safety of the contestants.
Children’s activities at Shuwaikh Beach Park
This year’s event included organizing events dedicated to children aged 5 to 11 years old, set up a Shuwaikh Beach Park. The children participated in several fun-filled contests and games, organized by circuit+ and supervised by NBK’s team.
Special Needs and Elderlies NBK dedicates an annual special competition within the race for people with special needs, as part of the bank’s beliefs of the utmost importance of involving all members of society and their ability to prove their active and vital role in various areas and fields, particularly sports. In addition, NBK dedicated a racing category for participants aged 60 years old and above to encourage a healthier lifestyle among all members of the society.
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