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Unity Run in Dubai supports city's aim to be disability-friendly by 2020

DUBAI // Thousands braved the morning chill on Friday to take part in a charity run on Al Mamzar beach.

Around 2,000 participants from all ages took part in the 3km walk and 7km Unity Run to raise funds for Al Noor Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities and raise awareness for people with special needs.

The event, held at Al Mamzar Corniche, coincided with the celebration of the centre’s 35th anniversary.

David Singleton ran the 3km stretch holding a UAE flag in one hand and a push-chair with a baby from Al Noor in the other, to the finish line.

“It’s an amazing event and a chance to give back to the community for this noble cause,” said the Briton who also took part in the London marathon this year. “Doing this run is a chance to spread awareness of the good deeds of Al Noor [Centre] and the support for people with disabilities.”

Wearing her Unity Run t-shirt and holding the UAE flag, 7-year-old Alexa and her mother, Clare Handley, watched the runners as they crossed the finish line.

“It was good to take part in this charity run on this beautiful morning,” said the 42-year-old mother. “It gives a sense of warmth to be able to help support this cause and enjoying the great weather and having fun.”

Families and friends of the participants cheered them on as they enjoyed the scenery and the beach.

For sisters Haya and Hiba Zahra, taking part in such events is for “the greater good.”

“We are here to show support for Al Noor and help out as much as we can to raise awareness of Al Noor’s work with people with disabilities,” said the 15-year-old girls who tried to convince more friends to join the run.

Entertainment for children and families as well as food trucks were made available to the public to enjoy after the run.

Cindy Golds took part in the run to beat her own personal record and challenge herself by completing the 7km run with a group of friends and coworkers.

“I’m participating to join the good cause of raising awareness for people with disabilities,” said the 30-year-old Filipina. “I previously finished a 5km run and this is a change to beat my record.”

Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital ran a dedicated booth with a team of experts offering free BMI measurements for children and adolescents. It also provided health and nutrition advice to parents.

The Unity Run was also in support of Dubai’s aim to be a disability-friendly city by 2020.

Al Noor Training Centre is a non-profit organisation provides individuals with special needs professional training in a holistic programme addressing all domains of development.

The centre began its operation 35 years ago with eight children. It currently has 250 children and young people who have various physical and cognitive challenges such as Down syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and Autism.

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The National