IAAF CEO Jon Ridgeon joined four-time New York City Marathon champion Mary Keitany and European half marathon champion Tadesse Abraham at the World Health Organization’s ‘Walk the Talk: The Health for All Challenge’ event at the Place des Nations in Geneva on Sunday (19).
Celebrating its second edition, the Walk the Talk: The Health for All Challenge celebrated the importance of health and physical activity, a core value of the IAAF and one which it actively promotes and encourages around the world through initiatives and activities such as Run 24-1 delivered by its athletes and its 214 Member Federations.
On a day that featured music, dance, drums and yoga, Ridgeon joined Keitany and Abraham in one of the mass-participation runs, promoting the IAAF's Clean Air campaign and the Run 24-1 global campaign to get people moving.
"It’s been a brilliant day to be reminded of the global power of running," said Ridgeon. "Let’s work in partnership with organisations like the WHO to get the world moving."
Four-time NYC Marathon champ @KeitanyMary, European half marathon champ @run_tade and IAAF CEO @JRidgeon took part in @WHO's Walk the Talk: The Health for All Challenge in Geneva today.pic.twitter.com/hGVb8dkCFL— IAAF (@iaaforg) May 19, 2019
“Today is not just about sport; it’s about promoting health for all,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO. “We have all come together with one goal: to demonstrate that we cannot take health for granted.”
Ghebreyesus presented Margaret Kenyatta, the First lady of Kenya and a keen runner, with the 2019 Health Leaders award in recognition of her outstanding advocacy on global health matters.
Kenya hosted the IAAF World U18 Championships to mass crowds in 2017 and will host the IAAF World U20 Championships in Nairobi in 2020.
"Physical activity is the bedrock of healthy living that prevents many illnesses," said Kenyatta. "Linking this to good nutrition and reinforcing healthy habits, including physical exercise, is something we as leaders need to encourage in our communities."
Other special guests in attendance included Formula One racing driver Romain Grosjean and mental health advocate Cynthia Germanotta, Lady Gaga’s mother.
A year out from the IAAF’s World Under 20 Champs in Nairobi, wonderful to meet @WHO Walk The Talk event @FirstLadyKenya, an athletics fan and active runner herself #iaaforg #firstmile #healthforall pic.twitter.com/TK1EV01op4— Jon Ridgeon (@JRidgeon) May 19, 2019