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Start your engines: From Budapest to Bamako for Bed Nets!
Submitted by Andrea Gough on February 15, 2011
On January 15, 190 teams of motorists set off from Budapest, Hungary taking part in the Budapest-Bamako Great African Run. This unique driving race on unpaved roads stretches from Budapest, Hungary through Austria, Italy, France, Spain, Morocco, Mauritania, and Senegal, ending in Bamako, Mali. Any “street legal” vehicle could take part -- if they could handle the rough, unpaved sections of the course -- reflecting the event’s principle: “Anyone. By Anything. In Any Way.”
So what was the goal? To drive nearly 2,500 miles to be the first to past the finish line in Bamako…and to raise $100,000 to send 10,000 bed nets and save lives!
Our partner Junior Chamber International was one of the sponsors of the Budapest-Bamako Great African Run this year and made Nothing But Nets the official charity of this incredible event! Participating teams not only raised money to support Nothing But Nets, but actually distributed 2,600 long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets along the route, thanks to a donation by Bestnet Europe Ltd.
With participants from across Europe, JCI even had five teams take part in the race. Teammates Kris Sierens and Yves Callewier of JCI Belgium said, “Nothing But Nets is [a] great program and by joining the JCI team, we want to raise not only awareness, but mainly as [many] nets against malaria as possible.” Another JCI team participating in the race were Sarah and Jonathan Leeson. As ExxonMobil employees this couple knows a thing or two about global giving and fueling their engines. They raised over $5,000!
The race ended January 30th in Bamako with racers welcomed by drummers and dancers. But perhaps the most interesting finish was one competitor running the last 50 m to the finish line by foot, just to make sure that he completed the race on time. Despite setbacks, he still made sure that nothing got in the way of his goal.
The commitment shown in the Budapest-Bamako Great African Run proves that “Anyone. By Anything. In Any Way.” can send a net and save a life.