On 28 May, the Running Hearts Green Marathon (in Russian) took place on Moscow’s Sparrow Hills, setting off from Universitetskaya Square in front of the Moscow State University. This is a joint project that resulted from combining the Sberbank Green Marathon with the Running Hearts charity race that was created by Polina Kitsenko and Natalia Vodianova in support of the Naked Heart Foundation.
The aim of the event is to raise funds for the development of the Early Intervention project for young children with special needs and their families. The project is part of our “Every Child Deserves a Family” programme and is being implemented in Moscow, St Petersburg, Tula, Tver, and Nizhny Novgorod. Thanks to this project, young children with autism, cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities are able to attend preschool, go to school, learn new things and socialise with their peers.
This year, the participants, sponsors, corporate teams and organisers managed to raise 50 million roubles (around $800,000) – once again a record sum for a charity race in Russia. One million roubles were raised by the event participants, through the use of a new individual fundraising tool Sdelai.org (in Russian).
The Running Hearts Green Marathon is one of the main events in Sberbank’s marathon series. 10,000 people took part in the Moscow event, which included three distances – 4.2 km, 10 km and 21.1 km (a half marathon). The 4.2 km race was kicked off by Herman Gref, CEO and Chairman of the Sberbank Executive Board; Viktor Sadovnichiy, Rector of Moscow State University; Alexei Kondarantsev, Deputy Head of the Moscow Sports and Tourism Department, who spoke on behalf of the Mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin; and the race organisers, Natalia Vodianova and Polina Kitsenko.
The Running Hearts Green Marathon is the first inclusive marathon that has enabled Olympic and Paralympic champions, Special Olympics athletes, athletes with special needs accompanied by their coaches and wheelchair users to take part together – a separate 10-km race for wheelchair-users was also organized, and kicked off by legendary Russian skier Roman Petushkov, the only six-time Paralympic champion in the history of the Paralympic Games.
This year, for the first time ever, 500 runners were able to participate in the race remotely, using the Nike digital run, which allows anyone to take part regardless of their location or physical training.
Also this year, Russian social network VKontakte issued a live broadcast from the Running Hearts Green Marathon village, which was watched by 1,164,653 people within just a couple of hours! 114 corporate teams and 40 media teams participated in a separate team event. A record 64 corporate teams represented Sberbank, a leader in corporate sporting events.
The race participants also included child development specialists from organisations that are taking part in the Naked Heart Foundation’s Early Intervention project in Nizhny Novgorod, Tver, Tula, St Petersburg and Moscow. They are working every day with young children with autism, cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities and know better than anyone else the importance of this race and the further development of the project.
The Running Hearts Green Marathon has become not just a charity and sporting event but also a music festival, with a number of fun activities for the whole family. Well-known Russian bands Zveri (“Animals”) and Samoe Bolshoe Prostoe Chislo (“The Biggest Prime Number”) performed for all the marathon participants.
There was a lot of media attention on the various celebrities who joined us this year. Five supermodels – Naked Heart Foundation Founder and Running Hearts co-organiser Natalia Vodianova, Naomi Campbell, Nike ambassador Izabel Goulart, and Russian Victoria’s Secret Angels Maryna Linchuk and Valery Kaufman ran alongside everyone else.
Well-known guests, from the Russian President’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov to members of the Forbes list, famous actors, directors and musicians rubbed shoulders in the VIP area, which included flower arrangements by LID’S EVENTHOUSE and “Gorod-Sad” and “Belaya Dacha” provided delicious, healthy runner’s breakfasts.
List of celebrities include:
Herman Gref, Stanislav Kuznetsov, Polina Kitsenko, Natalia Vodianova, Viktor Sadovnichiy, Antoine Arnault, Lucas Portman, Asya Zalogina, Izabel Goulart, Naomi Campbell, Dmitry Peskov, Tatiana Navka, Mikhail Abyzov, Vnesheconombank chairman Sergei Gorkov, a main owner of Credit Bank of Moscow Roman Avdeev, Viacheslav Fetisov, Alexey Smertin, Alexander Legkov, Isabelle Knaute, Tatiana Volosozhar, Maxim Trankov, Margarita Mamun, Irina Slutskaya, Svetlana Zhurova, Anastasia Nazarenko, Albert Demchenko, Ksenia Stolbova, Roman Petushkov, Michael Vinet, Alexey Stepanov, Andrey Sharonov, Dmitry Razumov, Sergei Kolushev, Andrey Kolesnikov, Polina Deripaska, Yelena Zajtseva, Victoria Davydova, Ksenia Solovieva, Polina Sokhranova, Jurate Gurauskaite, Yana Rudkovskaya, Natalya Yakimchik, Mikhail Turetsky with his wife Liana, Yulia Peresild, Polina Gagarina, Inna Malikova, Elena Temnikova, Katerina Shpitsa, Olga Shelest, Grigori Dobrygin, Egor Koreshkov, Nikita Kukushkin, Natalya Shvets, Maria Bogdanovich, Maria Ivakova, Anastasia Zadorina, Yulia Topolnitskaya, Dmitry Ignatov, Maryna Linchuk, Valery Kaufman, Katsia Domankova, Margarita Lieva, Оксана Бондаренко, Sophie Shevardnadze, Natalia and Murad Osmann, Mariya Zykova, Vlad Lisovets, Irena Ponaroshku, Evelina Bledans, Artem Korolev, Aurora, Yan Yanovskiy, Eugene Zabolotnyy, Alexey Bokov, Antonio Alizzi, Natalya Bardo, Elena Krygina, Yulia Baranovskaya, Olga Michi, Daria Lisichenko, Anastasia Belyak, Svetlana Rodina, Elena Shifrina, Lidiya Simonova, and others.
Huge thanks to all our partners and sponsors: Coca-Cola, MegaFon, Nike, BMW and Biotherm. Without them this amazing event would never have been possible. Thanks to them, we can do even to help kids with special needs and their families in Russia!
We are eternally grateful to Polina Kitsenko and her team for their impeccable organisation of this large-scale event and long-term support of the Naked Heart Foundation. We admire their hard work, endless energy and ability to resolve any problem. Without them this wonderful celebration of sport and charity would never have been possible.
All the costs associated with the organisation of the event were covered by the participating sponsors and partners. All the musicians, DJs, presenters and photographers worked on a pro bono basis.
All the funds raised will be donated to the Naked Heart Foundation for the expansion of the Early Intervention project for young children with special needs and their families. The aim of the project is to build a system in which every child with special needs can attend preschool and school, socialise with their peers and learn new skills. This is large-scale, day-to-day work that requires constant funding. Every child that is involved in our project has 20 hours of intensive classes per week, which is unprecedented in Russia. This means that fundraising is not over after the Running Hearts Green Marathon. Each and every one of you can become our hero and help us do even more, thanks to our good friends from Takie Dela and their new fundraising platform Polzuyas Sluchaem. Follow the previous link and make a donation of any amount or start raising funds for us. Alternatively, if you don’t speak Russian, you can create a JustGiving page and fundraise there.
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