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Borneo International Marathon partners with UNICEF for #thisability


Thousands will run for and with children with disabilities


Kota Kinabalu, 15 March 2017 – Today the organising committee of the Borneo International Marathon, Kinabalu Running Club, and UNICEF joined forces to launch this year’s marathon with a new rallying theme: #thisability.


Through their partnership in the biggest running and tourism event in Borneo, Kinabalu Running Club and UNICEF aim to support the right of all children to play, recreation and sport; raise awareness and address stigma and discrimination faced by children with disabilities; and provide inclusive opportunities for children with and without disabilities to engage with each other, learn to live together and respect one another.


As the Borneo International Marathon is turning ten this year, between 8,000 and 10,000 participants from Malaysia and across the globe will run for and with children with disability in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah on May 7, 2017.


“This year we are working to promote inclusion of children with disabilities and to enable them to realise their full potential. We want to create opportunities and encourage them to learn and participate in all our activities”, said Datuk Dr Heng Aik Cheng, President of Kinabalu Running Club and Race Director of the Borneo International Marathon. “Bringing together persons with and without disabilities in the marathon will give them the pride and dignity in our community and will also contribute to make our society more inclusive”.


In presence of Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Hj Aman, Chief Minister of Sabah, the launch event involved children with and without disabilities, representatives from civil society organisations, State officials and journalists. Several government agencies will be part of this edition of the Borneo International Marathon, including Sabah Tourism Board, Sabah Youth and Sports Ministry, Kota Kinabalu City Hall, Royal Malaysian Police, Sabah Health Department and Sabah Education Department.


“As we know sport is a health activity – good for body and soul. And it is also a great equalizer as it draws people together, crosses socio-economic, and geographic boundaries and has the power to unite all different kinds of people for fun, play and goals”, said Marianne Clark-Hattingh, UNICEF Representative in Malaysia. “Children with disability often face stigma and discrimination. Through sports, we want to dispel our own fears and biased views to build a more inclusive environment for children with disabilities. Everywhere in the world, it takes time to challenge negative attitudes and practices towards children with disabilities. It’s a marathon, not a sprint and we need to stay the course to break down these barriers”.


As a gesture of commitment, the Kinabalu Running Club, has waived the registration fee for persons with disabilities. The money raised during the Borneo International Marathon will be donated to local non-profit organisations that work to improve the lives of disadvantage groups including children with disabilities in Sabah.


Note for Editors

A study commissioned by UNICEF last year in four different States across Malaysia including Sabah, on knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) has shown that there is still limited knowledge about the actual causes of disability and that stigma and discrimination is real at different levels for children, parents and families of children with disabilities.


·       58.4% of people surveyed reported being under-informed about children with disabilities.

·       Stigma, discrimination, isolation and marginalisation operated on many levels for children with disabilities, their parents, families and friends.

·       Participants projected greater negativity and stigma towards children with behavioural, mental and intellectual disabilities than towards children with physical or sensory disabilities.

·       43.1% of respondents thought it was disruptive for children to be in school with children with disabilities.

·       Children and adolescents with disabilities felt sadness, loneliness, embarrassment and anger

·       when they were excluded



About the Borneo International Marathon

The first marathon in Sabah was held in 1984 and it was called the Daily Express Sabah Marathon. The next marathon was held 23 years later in 2008 and was called the Borneo International Marathon (BIM). The BIM is organized by Kinabalu Running Club, registered under registration of sports association (ROSA) under the Sports Commission.


To register:




UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.


For more information about UNICEF and its work visit:



For more information, please contact:

Hana S. Harun

Kinabalu Running Club

Contact No. : 012 906 9568



Sugata Roy


Contact No. : +60 11 3876 2699





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