The world running organisation the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) is delighted to announce the Munich Marathon as the 2016 recipient of the AIMS Social Award.

The award, which highlights races working towards achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals*, will be presented to the successful German race during the fourth annual AIMS Best Marathon Runner’ (BMR) Awards Dinner Reception to be held in the birth place of the Marathon in Athens, Greece on 11 November 2016.

The eight Millennium Development Goals include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, combatting disease, decreasing child mortality, promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and ensuring environmental stability.

Starting in 2015, the Munich Marathon have been working on a project called ‘Laufend integrieren’, which roughly translates as ‘constantly integrate’. With Germany taking in large numbers of refugees from the recent humanitarian crisis, the organisers of the Munich Marathon decided to use their event and the sport of running to help refugees integrate into German culture.

Through working with the social authority of the City of Munich, several running groups were set up for both Munich runners and refugees. These groups met once a week from August to October in the build up to the Munich Marathon with 32 refugees participating in the race.

In addition, over 100 refugees were engaged around the race weekend preparing the race packages, handing them out and stewarding the route. Finally, bracelets branded with ‘Laufend integrieren’ were sold at the sports expo. The money raised from the bracelets in addition to donations from sponsors meant the Munich Marathon donated €30,000 to the social authority for Munich to distribute as they see fit.

The Munich Marathon plans to continue these efforts throughout the year towards the next race in 2017.

Paco Borao, President of AIMS comments: “I am delighted to see the excellent work done by the Munich Marathon recognised with this award. I feel this is a great example of how running events can help tackle the great challenges of our time, in this case the humanitarian challenge of millions of refugees seeking safety within Europe.”

Gernot Weigl, Race Director of the Munich Marathon comments: “We would like to thank AIMS, their sponsors and members for recognising us with the AIMS Social Award. We are delighted at the success of our ‘Laufend integrieren’ project so far and look forward to continuing the success in years to come. The response from our new friends from abroad and the local people has been moving to see. This project has hopefully helped people understand the massive social challenges that many of the people arriving in Germany have had to face as they seek a new, safer life. We are looking forward to visiting the home of the Marathon in Athens, Greece to receive the award.”