This last 11 and 12 June, athletes and elite sportspersons, celebrities and media personalities, among others, joined in the 240k Adding Kilometers of Hope, an activity designed to raise funds to assist the work of UNICEF for emergency response. The initiative raised twice the initial target, totaling $107,425.

The 24-hour race was divided into 24 sections, 10 kilometers each. It started at ground zero in Manta at 09:00 and ended the same time the next day, at the “Divino Niño” Shelter in Pedernales, with a special event led by Olympic champion Jefferson Pérez, who ran the last stretch.

Mountain-climber Iván Vallejo led the first 10 kilometers; the second stretch was led by Franklin Tenorio; followed by Claudio Villanueva, Ecuador’s representative at the Río de Janeiro Olympic Games. Each stretch also included athletes from Ecuador’s Special Olympics. Along the way, more leaders and sports figures from various provinces of Ecuador joined in.

The race included such celebrities as Andean mountain-climber Carla Pérez; Alpine mountain- climber Martín Sáenz; “Iron Man” María Luz Arellano; actor and triathlon athlete Juan José Jaramillo, sportscaster Alberto Astudillo; and others.

Millán Ludeña, an extreme athlete and founder of the 240K, said that he was “very surprised by the solidarity that all Ecuadorians showed for this initiative. Help came different ways; through economic donations and, of course, from the athletes who paid their race entry fees”.

“This great effort shows the country’s interest in helping its children and adolescents affected by the earthquake. UNICEF is working to provide temporary educational facilities, safe water and sanitation, psycho-social support and treatment to prevent malnutrition. These funds help such work, and we hope to reach more and more children”, said Jorge Valles, Deputy Representative of UNICEF Ecuador.

The race was endorsed by Ecuador’s Special Olympics and the Ecuadorian Olympic Committee, which will participate with the sportspersons and athletes who have classified for the Río 2016 Olympic Games.

See the phot gallery portraying the 240K Race

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