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Croatia world run 128 May 2019 | Zadar, Croatia [Darko Kovačević] 

Wearing running shirts emblazoned with the ADRA logo and slogan ‘Justice. Compassion. Love’, an ADRA Croatia team participated in the globally renowned humanitarian international Wings for Life World Run. Together they ran a total of 227.5 km in Zadar, an attractive coastal city, host to the race in Croatia.

Guided by a strong desire to participate in positive humanitarian initiatives within the community, ADRA Croatia, headed by its new director, Slavica Marčeta, gathered a team of volunteers for the run. They joined over 120,000 runners world-wide, who on Sunday, 5 May ran ‘together for one goal’, as the race slogans says.

Money raised from the registration fees and donations goes directly to the Wings for Life, which finances scientific and clinical research intended to find a cure for spinal cord injuries. ‘We run for those who can’t’ is another slogan of this humanitarian success story, with over 23.6 million euros raised since its launch.

Croatia world run groupIn 2019 edition, this global humanitarian sports event united runners from 186 countries in 323 locations across 72 countries. Together they ran 1,203,276 km on behalf of ‘those who can’t’.

In Croatia, it was the sixth consecutive year that the race has been organised by its National Athletic Association. This year, a record-breaking 9,000 runners set off from the start line on the Liburnia coast in Zadar. It was a wonderful atmosphere of being united in a desire to help those who cannot stand on their legs.

The race is held simultaneously across all time zones. In Zadar, it started at 13:00, while in some other countries the start is in the middle of the night, in the evening, or early in the morning. Whether day or night, sun, rain or snow, all run together at the same time across the world, sharing a unique experience.

A special feature of this race is the ‘catcher car’ which is a ‘moving finish line’ reaching runners one by one, and recording the distances each of them ran. It gradually accelerates until it reaches the final runner, who thus becomes a winner of the local race – and also globally if she or he has run the longest distance of all. The fastest runner of the ADRA Croatia team managed 26 km before being caught, while the whole team together ran 227.5 km.

Croatia world run anthamADRA team members, Jakov, Andrija and Darko, sing the national anthem before the start of the race.Before the start of the race in Zadar, all participants gathered at the Roman Forum near the Church of St Donatus. This included the ADRA Croatia team, which was registered by its director Slavica Marčeta on the Wings for Life webpage, highlighting ADRA International’s project Every Child Everywhere in School and ADRA’s slogan Justice. Compassion. Love.

The focus for ADRA Croatia’s humanitarian story this year was 'Mission in Action in Kenya', an orphan prevention institution and school founded by the Croatian-born Ivan Budulica. ADRA Croatia recently organised several humanitarian projects and concerts to support this institution. That is why ‘MIA Kenya’ was written on the back of each shirt worn by ADRA runners, while on the front was the ADRA logo and slogan Justice. Compassion. Love.

Croatia world run droneThe ADRA Croatia was team noticed by the public. One reason was that three members of the ADRA Croatia team, Jakov, Andrija and Darko Kovačević, at the invitation of the organisers, sang the Croatian anthem just before the race started. That led to a famous Croatian actor and a host of the race, Boris Mirković, taking a photo not only with the singers, but also with the whole ADRA Croatia team. This was quickly picked up by photo journalists and later published on many portals. Mirković also announced the performers of the anthem and gave special thanks to them, emphasising both their surname, as they are a father and two sons, as well as the name of the gospel ensemble Agape, of which they are members.

Wings for Life World Run was, together with the anthem, streamed live on Nova TV and its website portal, dnevnik.hr. ADRA Croatia team also gained coverage on National Croatian Television, filming one of their Wings for life training sessions as part of the religious news programme Together in Spirit. That report can be seen on ADRA Croatia’s YouTube channel.

tedNEWS Staff: Victor Hulbert, editor; Deana Stojković, associate editor
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