Running on top of the world

Published: 23 May 2013 12:42 CET

By Ayad Monzer, Lebanese Red Cross

To mark the 150 anniversary of the formation of the International Committee of the Red Cross Lebanese international desert runner Ali Wehbi has undertaken a superhuman run to raise the flag of the Red Cross at the North Pole. The run is part of an international race in which 48 professional runners from 20 different countries – and hundreds of volunteers around the world – ran under the banner of ‘150 years and running’ to highlight the history and work of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.

Before heading out on his adventure to the North Pole, Wehbi was handed a flag by Suzanne Oueiss, the president of the Lebanese Red Cross. He carried the flag, facing extreme temperatures and dangerous cracks in the ice on the final six hours of the trek and finally arrived at the top of the world.

Very tired and very cold, Wehbi raised the flag. “At last, I did it! That’s it,” he said.

On his return, the flag was passed back to President Oueiss who, in turn, handed it on to Jurg Montani, the head of the ICRC delegation in the country, as a gift in honour of 150 years of humanitarian action. The ceremony was held at the headquarters of the Lebanese Red Cross and was attended by the organization’s Secretary General Georges Kettaneh and the director of Public Relations and Communications Ayad El Mounzer. Wehbi was presented with a Red Cross medal of honour and a token of gratitude for his run.

Between 25-29 June, Ali Wehbi will travel across Lebanon in partnership with the Lebanese Red Cross to promote the importance of the organization’s humanitarian mission and the Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.