On Friday, 02 November, the Maldives became abuzz with Dhiraagu Maldives Road Race 2018 as it entered its 12th consecutive year since inception back in 2007. A total of 4,000 participants from 18 different countries participated in the event held in the beautiful city of Hulhumale’, dedicating their run to help protect children.

Among the 4,000-strong crowd, we saw runners as young as 7 years old running along with teams from different schools as well as the most seasoned runners in the Maldives. What made the event so much better was that it was open for all who wishes to participate to come and enjoy the thrills of being part of something greater than themselves. We saw differently-abled kids, youths, adults, senior citizens, and even a mom carrying her baby in a sling, running and walking as one people, as one community.

We saw seasoned runners helping and encouraging others struggling to keep on going. We saw others stopping in their tracks, helping kids on wheelchairs feel what it is like to zip against the wind as they gained speed. We saw runners from other countries, despite the obvious language barriers, cheering a differently-abled youth as he ran, and every other runner who paced down to pat him on the back and give him a word of encouragement as he inspired the rest of us running in his wake: do not give up.

Congratulations to Dhiraagu for concluding another excellent event. We at Next Stop Maldives also thank Dhiraagu for making the entire run a plastic-free event, and for showing us that corporate events need not be damaging to the environment.