Accra International Marathon AIMing to keep Africa alive!

The prevailing life expectancy in most countries in Sub-Sahara Africa is far below 65 years; it behooves self-respecting Africans to take constructive action to increase the fitness and productivity of the continent’s human resources .

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All over the world, increasingly health-conscious individuals are choosing to address societal problems by running, walking, bicycling, dancing and other leisure activities to raise funds from their networks for various charitable causes.

Billion of dollars have been raised for charity through such events as the London Marathon and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathons of the U.S. Unfortunately, as is the case with its many other resources, Africa’s potential to make the most of such opportunities right here on the continent is largely untapped.

But the global demand for these events is increasing. The combination of high-performance yet recreational sports with a growing spectator base has made endurance events attractive platforms for brands that seek affinity with achievement, wellbeing, fitness and fun. It is time for Africa to AIM for a share of this increasing market. As businesses on the continent get more competitive, differentiating through branding has become more important to companies doing business in Africa.

The Accra International Marathon (AIM) is a mass participation leisure running and walking event that features 42K, 21K, 10K and 5K distances and a 4-member relay category dubbed Corporate Challenge 4 Charity Relay™ (Challenge 4 Charity). It was organized with the vision to attract local and international participants to a world-class recreational endurance event in the nation’s capital and to raise funds to support the life-saving mission of The Longevity Project (the Project), a local charity.

Realizing the Vision—Doing Good while Doing Well

When the Ebola virus brutally attacked the sub-region a few years ago, AIM organizers mobilized the goodwill and resources of their participants and other stakeholders to raise over GHS40,000 for charities at home (in Ghana) and in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the three worst affected countries. Fighting to fend off distorted images of a ravaged and hapless continent, the AIM was successfully held in 2014 and sowed the seeds for transitioning to Africa is Moving—moving, mobilizing and leveraging the energies, goodwill, and resources of people interested in saving their own lives and in solving the problems and overcoming the challenges plaguing Africa.

Not surprisingly, while African countries dominate listings of countries with the lowest life expectancy, not one African country can be found on any list of the most productive countries in the world. No studies are required to understand the link between fitness to work and productivity. It seems obvious, to paraphrase the philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, that the first wealth of a nation is the health of its population.

The prevailing life expectancy in most countries in Sub-Sahara Africa is far below 65 years; it behooves self-respecting Africans to take constructive action to increase the fitness and productivity of the continent’s human resources in tandem with Africa’s progression towards increased economic prosperity. Participatory events such as the AIM form an essential part of the infrastructure required to catalyze, nurture and sustain an active lifestyle, which in turn leads to improved public wellness on many levels.

Like their international peers, progressive companies are increasingly providing recreational opportunities for their valued human capital, and events such as the AIM provide an easy avenue to meet some of their employee wellness goals.

Through the Challenge 4 Charity, for example, corporate champions can work together with their proud employees to increase their personal fitness while they strengthen woefully inadequate social safety nets for the vulnerable and at-risk members of society.

Training and straining together, especially for a relay event, is great for team building and enhances esprit de corps. It is thus not surprising that whether it’s the Berlin Marathon, the Tokyo Marathon or the Accra International Marathon, the finish line venue of such endurance events is becoming a pleasant place to engage in a little bit of chest thumping and selfie-snapping along with social and business networking. The finish line venue of Ghana’s own AIM is held at the 5-star Labadi Beach Hotel, and all finishers are treated to free massages by leading practitioners of therapeutic massage and physiotherapy—sufficient motivation for many to AIM to Keep Africa Alive!

Pulse Ghana is pleased to support Africans to an active, healthy lifestyle

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