This year the Minsk Half Marathon gather a record-high number of runners. 35,000 thousand people from all parts of Belarus and 53 countries came to Minsk on 9 September to demonstrate their support to healthy lifestyle and challenge themselves in various distances. The UN agencies in Belarus decided to use this exciting opportunity to spotlight on the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals. The UN Team comprised of 140 people of all walks of life and physical abilities laced their running shoes and came as one under the slogan “Let’s reach 17 Goals together!”

The Team members were easy to spot among thousands of other participants due to bright and catchy blue running t-shirts branded with the SDGs messages. By wearing the SDGs on their backs, the UN runners took the goals closer to people inviting them to see the SDGs as something comprehensive and tangible to which they can feel passionate about.  

"It was important for us to show that 17 Sustainable Development Goals are not an abstract call to action created somewhere in the UN offices. To put it simply and briefly: the Sustainable Development Goals help improve people's lives in every country in the world. It is in support of this idea that we were going to run the Marathon," commented the representatives of the UN agencies in Belarus.

By participating in the Minsk Half Marathon, the UN Team demonstrated its support to healthy lifestyle #SDG3. Running is moving, which means it is all about good health and positive mood.

The UN Team featured not only the UN staff but also invited partners, media people, and celebrities. The fact that speaks up in favour of strong partnerships #SDG17. The Team was gender-balanced #SDG5 and friendly towards people with disabilities #SDG10.

All leaved their private vehicles at home and came to the venue on foot or by public transport, thus helping cut CO2 emissions and make air in the city a bit cleaner.

The idea to perform as the UN Team was born and successfully realized at the Minsk Half Marathon last year. From joint trainings and till crossing the finish line, it was an amazing team-building experience. It showcased the unity of the UN system in the country to the public, as well as demonstrated the UN’s openness, determination and inclusiveness in achieving the SDGs in Belarus and beyond.

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