Activation & Media

UNICEF Heroes Day


How we created the first connected race to mobilize runners for UNICEF in 2015

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Back in 2015, the races are only physical, in no way allowing the requested distance to be achieved anywhere other than at the race venue on the day. No flexibility, little community involvement, and therefore little reach. 

Sport Heroes (or just Running Heroes in 2015) is the opposite: technological know-how and experience in creating and animating communities embodied in an app, Running Heroes, that connects and motivates runners without geographical or time constraints. Sport Heroes values efforts and mobilizes runners for causes. 

The interest for UNICEF to organize such an event was multiple. The involvement of a large community of runners, the ability to get a message out quickly and globally, but also and above all the possibility to collect a maximum of donations thanks to an inclusive and global format. 


Running is first and foremost a commitment to your fitness, your well-being, and yourself. Aware of the benefits of running for the body and mind, motivation can sometimes be lacking. So why not extend your commitment and give a meaning and a charitable dimension to surpassing yourself? This is the source of the success of UNICEF Heroes Day, by Running Heroes.

Taking up a challenge, surpassing oneself, participating in a world first and contributing to the vaccination campaign, such were the sources of motivation proposed by Running Heroes and UNICEF who, by surfing on the running trend, wished to give a new breath of fresh air, a new experience of donation in a playful way, through a federative and first event of its kind.

So on April 15, 2015, UNICEF Heroes Day took place in France, but not only. 

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An innovative concept
An innovative concept
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UNICEF Heroes Day is a 10K connected race in teams of 4. " No need to draw a line on your weekly sleep-in to be on the starting line, the latter could be done between 12:01am and 11:59pm." 

First connected race to be born, participants from all over the world could connect to their applications or tracking devices (Nike+, Runtastic, Garmin, Endomondo, etc. ...), to record their activity on the platform created by Running Heroes.

Thus, runners from Paris, Toronto, Moscow, Sydney or New York were able to participate in the same adventure by running just down the road from each other, several thousand miles away.

The cost of participation being variable, this connected device allowed as many people as possible to commit to UNICEF. To make your Sunday morning run a good deed, three levels of donations were offered to register: 

  •  5 € : the participation to the race
  • 15 € : the participation and a pair of blue laces UNICEF
  • 30 € : the participation, a pair of laces UNICEF and the official T-shirt of the race
Ambassadors to match the innovation
Ambassadors to match the innovation
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To make the adventure even more fun, three renowned sponsors have each proposed challenges to allow the teams to train, surpass themselves and stay motivated. 

Tennis champion Alizée Cornet, two-time (now five-time) Olympic champion Martin Fourcade and Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie challenged the participating teams with challenges of their own devising. Races of 6km, 6.16km and 7.5km (symbolic distances for each of them) to be completed in one run, in order to prepare the participants for the D-day.

An event to support (in a different way) UNICEF's actions
An event to support UNICEF's actions
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The UNICEF Heroes Day was a 100% solidarity race: all the funds were donated to UNICEF to finance the campaign "Objective 100%: Vaccinate every child".

Once the team was registered, they had to prepare their race correctly, but also to create a buzz in their environment in order to collect donations and to increase their fund.

Moreover, those who were not running also had a role to play in the project. The device allowed to follow the performances of some runners, friends or athletes, thanks to the live ranking, but also to support UNICEF through donations via the kitty of the favorite team.

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More than the goal of finishing first, UNICEF Heroes Day was first and foremost a solidarity event that asked runners from around the world to come together and show their generosity to vaccinate every child. It worked, to say the least: the participants between them ran the equivalent of six circumnavigations of the globe on UNICEF Heroes Day 2015.

By the numbers:

22 543

vaccinated children

5 552

participants (in 36 countries)

112 715€

of donations collected

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