More than 1,100 migrant workers, diplomats, government officials, and other dignitaries, thronged the Aspire Park Friday to participate in the first Qatar Workers' Fun Run – an event honouring their contributions to the country’s development. The one-day event, organised by the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA), Netherlands embassy, and International Labour Organisation (ILO), also aimed to recognise Qatar’s impressive achievements in protecting workers’ rights and welfare.
“This was really all about the workers to celebrate and thank them for what they have done for this country, as you may know May 1 is International Workers' Day. It is all about workers' welfare,” Dutch ambassador Dr Bahia Tahzib-Lie told 'Gulf Times'.
“It’s a wonderful race, wonderful day, I cannot describe how wonderful it is, it is indescribably beautiful, priceless. This is one my happiest days in Qatar,” stressed the envoy, who was among the finishers of the 5km race.
Finishers showing their medals after the 5km race
More than 1,100 took part in the first Qatar Workers' Fun Run at Aspire Park.
Dr Tahzib-Lie was joined by Italian ambassador Pasquale Salzano and ILO project office head Houtan Homayounpour during the run around Aspire Park. Apart from migrant workers, members of the public and various expatriate communities, also participated in the fun run, which aims to promote an active and healthy lifestyle in the country.
A 35-year-old Kenyan expatriate in Doha, Pius Nyaundi, was the first to finish the race in over 16 minutes. “I enjoyed the run despite a windy day,” he told 'Gulf Times', as he looked forward to participating in the next edition of the event. Nyaundi and other top finishers were awarded by Assistant Undersecretary for Labour Affairs Mohamed Hassan al-Obaidly, along with Dr Tahzib-Lie and Homayounpour at a special ceremony. “It’s just the first edition of the fun run but it is nice and well-organised. If they do it every year it is better,” Nyaundi said, as he encouraged fellow Kenyans and workers to support and participate in the initiative.
He said the fun run also provides an opportunity to meet, mingle and share ideas and experiences with other workers in the country who have the passion for running and other sports. “Especially during Friday, you become idle, but when you come and participate in these kinds of events you enjoy and meet new friends and nice people,” added Nyaundi.
Fellow Kenyan named Edwin, who has been working in Qatar for two years, echoed his statement saying that he had fun and enjoyed the race with other participants. Organisers announced that they will hold the event every year to welcome more workers, families and enthusiasts.
Houtan Homayounpour addressing the participants before the start of the fun run (below):