NEW YORK (15 May 2010) - The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Embassy in Washington, DC sponsored the 6th Annual UAE Healthy Kidney 10K race in New York City’s Central Park on Saturday, bringing together an international field of professional and amateur runners. Over 10,000 people registered to run in the race, which benefited the National Kidney Foundation, including top-ranked professional runners and a delegation of athletes from the UAE.
The race was organized by the New York Road Runners in cooperation with the UAE Embassy and was held in honor of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founder and first President of the UAE. Sheikh Zayed was treated for kidney disease in the United States, and benefited from the expertise, knowledge and professionalism of US institutions and doctors. The UAE Healthy Kidney 10K race pays tribute to Sheikh Zayed and also seeks to raise awareness and support for the National Kidney Foundation.
“The UAE Embassy is honored to be a part of this important event, and to help raise awareness of kidney disease,” said HE Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the United States. “Through the continued efforts of the National Kidney Foundation, people around the world are being educated on the importance of prevention and treatment options. The UAE Healthy Kidney 10K honors those efforts, and also serves as a tribute to American excellence in kidney transplantation.”
UAE officials, Lt. General Mohamed Alkaabi and Lt. Colonel Mohamed Amer of the UAE Armed Forces Officers’ Club in Abu Dhabi, and Omar Al Shamsi, Deputy Chief of Mission at the UAE Embassy, attended the event in New York’s Central Park. They served as honorary race starters, and congratulated the top finishers, including Gebre Gebremariam, who won the race and set the course record with 27 minutes and 42 seconds. Also speaking at the race was actor Grizz Chapman and his son, who shared their personal story of Grizz’s battle with kidney disease.
During the race awards ceremony Lt. General Alkaabi, Lt. Colonel Amer and Mr. Al Shamsi presented the National Kidney Foundation with a symbolic check of $470,000, representing the UAE’s cumulative donations to the organization from 2009 and 2010.
On the evening before the race, the UAE Embassy hosted a reception to celebrate the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K and the race’s other sponsors and partners.
At the reception, Mr. Al Shamsi acknowledged the race's sponsors and supporters. In addition, Mary Wittenberg, President and CEO of New York Road Runners, and John Davis, CEO of the National Kidney Foundation, spoke at the event.
As part of the festivities leading up to the race, earlier in the week representatives from the UAE Armed Forces Officers’ Club, including five Emirati runners, attended an event at a New York City public school, celebrating fitness and healthy lifestyle choices. The event, which was hosted by New York Road Runners, also featured three of the top elite runners competing in the Healthy Kidney 10K. Lt. General Alkaabi and Lt. Colonel Amer also visited a pediatric dialysis center at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore.