x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

US Army veteran to run RAK half marathon

A team of Americans and Canadians will compete in the RAK Half Marathon to support a US charity.

Ras Al Khaimah, 19th February 2010. Participants at the start of the 1/2 RAK Marathon. (Jeffrey E Biteng / The National)
Ras Al Khaimah, 19th February 2010. Participants at the start of the 1/2 RAK Marathon. (Jeffrey E Biteng / The National)

ABU DHABI // Running is typically a solitary endeavour but later this month a team of competitors will be racing to help hundreds of people they have never met.

Kevin Emore, a US army veteran and Abu Dhabi resident, has pulled together a team of eight runners to compete in the RAK half marathon and raise funds for an American charity that supports wounded veterans and their families.

"Getting back into running has been an effort, especially that distance," Mr Emore said. "It's something that's really cool to do - picking up and doing something you're not naturally good at. It's a challenge, but it's a valuable one."

So far, the team has raised US$450 (Dh1,650) ahead of the February 17 race.

The group, composed mainly of Americans and Canadians, is running to raise funds for Team Red, White and Blue, an organisation that works to "transform the way wounded veterans are reintegrated into society when they return from combat and exit their position".

"It's an apolitical endeavour. There's no judgement," Mr Emore said. "They're just taking care of the people who sacrificed their lives."

Team Red, White and Blue pairs wounded veterans with advocates who meet for meals, provide assistance for getting to medical appointments and arrange social activities.

Runners and athletes raise awareness for the organisation by wearing T-shirts while training or competing and generate donations through fund raising.

As a veteran who served in Iraq, Mr Emore said it just made sense to get involved with the organisation and convincing others to join him was easier than he expected.

"It definitely wasn't too hard to convince us," said Catherine Moelker, a Canadian friend who is training with Mr Emore.

"We just wanted to support him. Everything he's been through is inspirational. Knowing that, we were on board right away."

The team, who call themselves Team RWB - Dubai, has set no fund-raising target.

"I don't care how much we raise," Mr Emore said. "I just felt sort of out of the loop being here in Abu Dhabi, and I thought this was a good way to raise awareness."

Ms Moelker said the group plans to reach out to friends, family and colleagues and use social networking sites to help garner support. She said most of the team's members have run races before, but this event has a special meaning.

"We wanted to set a goal for ourselves to do this together."

jthomas@thenational.ae