The Echizen Ono Meisui Marathon has made a new start this year to showcase the water of Ono as well as to help the city publicize overseas its effort for international cooperation.
The city has created for the first time this year a fundraising mechanism, whereby for each kilometer that a person runs, 10 yen will be donated for UNICEF’s water and sanitation activities in Timor Leste.
Followed by Mayer Takada’s opening remarks, Ms. Yoshie Yoshida of Japan Committee for UNICEF was introduced. Ms. Yoshida delivered her message on behalf of UNICEF family, extending her heartfelt gratitude to Ono citizens for reaching out for children in Timor Leste.
“This is the first ever visit to Ono and I want to tell what I saw yesterday while enjoying a walk in this neighborhood. I spotted little children drinking spring water from Oshozu. Well, that was quite surprising to me, giving me a pause for thought and reflection about disparity between Ono and Timor Leste.”
“For children in Ono, water is life itself. On the contrary, water can be a deadly killer for children in Timor Leste. Timor Leste is such country that the coverage with improved drinking water sources is the lowest in the Asian regions, where lack of safe drinking water is a major contributing factor to the death of children under the age of five. UNICEF wants to change this plight, so that all the children in Timor-Leste will become able to access to improved water sources. To achieve this purpose, our partnership with Ono City is indispensable. “
“As the leading agency for protecting children, UNICEF responds to humanitarian needs and reaches out to children even in the most difficult circumstances. We are determined to strive to improve children’s lives in Timor Leste. I thank you sincerely and ask you for continued support and understanding.”
This year, a record-breaking 4,965 people registered for the Echizen Ono Meisui Marathon! We were blessed with the weather, with cloudless skies telling us summer was just around the corner. It was ideal weather for the marathon. The sunlight reflected in the water in the rice paddies and in Oshozu seemed to be cheering the runners on. There were all sorts of runners: serious runners looking to break a record, elderly men who just wanted to complete the marathon, parents and children enjoying themselves, and so on. They ran through Ono, a city famous for its delicious water, intent on their own goals.
“I’ve finished running the half marathon!”
“I’ve received a trophy!”
“I’ve donated 20 yen by running two kilometers!”
Those who had finished running the marathon had their pictures taken at the photo booth!
Total running distance: 49,504.51km
Total fund raised from the marathon: 495,040yen
UNICEF will utilize this contribution for its water project in Timor Leste, aiming to increase sustainable access to water supply in rural schools and communities through the implementation of improved water systems. All the runners know warm glow of pride they got when finishing a challenging race. That's the joy of carrying clean water to children in Timor Leste.
In the world today, about 663million people still use unimproved drinking water sources, including unprotected wells and springs, and surface water. Under the theme of appreciation for water, the Carrying Water Project plays role in making international contributions as well as creating togetherness with people in Timor Leste.