The 7th edition of the Volkswagen Bucharest Half Marathon attracted almost 17,000 runners in the two days of the event – Saturday My 12 and Sunday May 13.

On May 13, over 500 Team Hope runners participated in the 7th edition of the Volkswagen Bucharest Half Marathon and raised over 250,000 lei that will be directed to the Hope and Homes for Children prevention programme against child-family separation.

The runners included Marius Manole, Hope and Homes for Children Ambassador, architect Omid Ghannadi, journalists Florin Negruțiu, Claudiu Pândaru and Marius Pancu (Digi 24), Otniela Sandu, finalist in Pro TV’s Survivor, designer Irina Marinescu, as well as Dragoș Bucurenci, the Foundation’s Development Director. They were joined by runners from companies that support the Hope and Homes for Children programmes, as well as individuals who ran to support our cause. The relay team, whose members were Alexandru Soare, Andrei Ștefana and Marius Bușcă, came first, winning the category. The professional athlete Florina Pierdevară, who specialises in the 800m race, joined Team Hope for the first time and participated in the popular race, where she came first.

The 7th edition of the Volkswagen Bucharest Half Marathon attracted almost 17,000 runners in the two days of the event – Saturday My 12 and Sunday May 13.

On Saturday, May 12, the Hope and Homes for Children tent in Piața Constituției hosted a puppet show for kids presented by actor and director Ana Crăciun-Lambru, to the delight of many little ones who were participating in the races or were there to cheer for the runners in the Kids’ Race and the Teenagers’ Race.

On Sunday, May 13, from early dawn, the Team Hope runners gathered at the Hope and Homes for Children tent and took their starting position for the 10km run, the 12km run and the relay race. Team Hope is the Hope and Homes for Children fundraising team and came to be due to our desire to reach out to communities and expand our fundraising and awareness efforts on behalf of Hope and Homes for Children; we wanted to provide people – be they experienced athletes or beginners, sponsors, partners, volunteers or endorsers – with new opportunities to support us. At the 7th edition of the Volkswagen Bucharest Half Marathon, over 500 runners, employees of partner companies or individual runner, joined Team Hope and managed to raise the necessary funds for providing two families with improved living conditions, as part of the Foundation’s child-family separation prevention programme.

Actor Marius Manole, Hope and Homes for Children Ambassador, ran in the 10km race, joining Team Hope in a sports event for the third time. In the relay race team, architect Omid Ghannadi joined journalists Florin Negruțiu and Claudiu Pândaru, hosts of the Digi 24 TV show În fața ta, running the half marathon for the first time. Otniela Sandu, finalist in PRO TV’s show Survivor, and Marius Pancu, Digi 24 journalist, also ran in the relay race.  

Dragoș Bucurenci, Hope and Homes for Children development director, ran for 21 km to help the Horia family stay together. Designer Irina Marinescu and photographer Andrei Runcanu ran in the 10 km race for the same cause.

Amalia Enache, Hope and Homes for Children Ambassador for eight years, Zoli Toth, an active supporter of the Foundation, and Tudor Bratu, one of the hosts of PRO TV’s show Super Speed were there at the organisation’s tent to support the Team Hope runners.

Volunteers from the Tășuleasa Social Association and SSMB (Bucharest Medical Students Association) were there to support Team Hope runners at the hydration spot and at the Team Hope tent in Piața Constituției. A total number of 70 volunteers joined the Team Hope members at this edition of the Bucharest Half Marathon.

The 500 Team Hope runners, be they company employees or individual participants, managed to raise over 250,000 lei in total. The money will be used to improve the living standards of two families. Genpact Romania, which brought 200 runners to Team Hope, supported the cause of a family in the Bistrița Năsăud county in need of an adequate home for their four children, two of whom are in institutional care. The financial support provided by Genpact Romania will enable Hope and Homes for Children to buy a one-bedroom flat for the family and help the parents bring back the institutionalised children.

The other 300 Team Hope runners raised funds so that the nine children of the Horia family can remain with their parents, having improved living conditions and continuing to go to school and kindergarten. They all live together in a 15 square metre adobe room, with little furniture and only one window. The house has no electricity and water, it is not connected to the sewage system, there is no flooring, only dirt. For heating, they use a wood stove, which the mother also uses for cooking. Because of their difficult living conditions, one of the school-aged children has had to abandon school, and the others are threatened by the same risk. Hope and Homes for Children has placed the Horias in a prevention program aimed at keeping families together, implementing an intervention plan to improve their living standards. The money raised by the Team Hope runners at the Bucharest Half Marathon will be used to connect the house to electricity and running water; to develop a micro farm that will generate income and provide nutritious food for the family; as well as to purchase school stationery, clothing and footwear and to ensure access to healthcare for the whole family.

The participation of Hope and Homes for Children runners to this edition of the Bucharest Half Marathon was made possible by the following companies: COS, Deutsche Bank, Henkel, Holcim, JYSK, Samsung, Samsung Shared Services Centre Europe, Société Generale European Business Services, Skanska, UiPath, Webhelp, Farmexpert and pharmacies Alphega and Arval. The Team Hope partners were: Elevate, Radisson Blu, Sloop, Solaris, Godmother, NAN Events.

So far, over 2,500 runners and 430 volunteers have joined Team Hope, supporting the cause of vulnerable children in Romania.

“Running is a challenge and I like challenges. I believe in the cause the Foundation is fighting for and I believe these children deserve a better life. I run so that every child can have a home and a family. I have convinced other friends to join the cause and I am happy to see that more and more people are supporting Hope and Homes for Children.” Marius Manole, Hope and Homes for Children Ambassador

“At each Marathon or Half Marathon that I run for Hope and Homes for Children, I am motivated by the work of my colleagues in Baia Mare, who do not cease to help poor families keep their children close. I am motivated by the work carried out by my colleagues in the past 20 years, in order to close down all the orphanages, which we hope to achieve by 2026. This year, we are 500 running the Half Marathon, I am happy that the number of Team Hope runners has plummeted, and I wish from all my heart to have 1000 Team Hope runners celebrating here in a few years’ time.”Dragoș Bucurenci, Development Director, Hope and Homes for Children

 “Our company has been involved in such social responsibility activities for a long time, and now we are over 200 runners from Cluj and Bucharest. It is exhilarating to be running for a family in need of help and we can’t wait to see their joyful smiles. This kind of involvement is a win-win situation, because we receive a lot of energy that we can then take back to our colleagues in the company.”Shibu Nambiar, CEO Genpact

“This is not the first time that I am running for Hope and Homes for Children, but it is the first time that I am participating in the relay race. Charity and sports go very well together, but charity goes well with almost anything else, because, when you’re doing something good for yourself, but especially when you’re doing something that’s good for others, it’s the best kind of motivation and you’re also setting an example”. Omid Ghannadi, architect

 “I ran together with my friends, Omid and Claudiu, who convinced me to join Team Hope to support children who live in precarious conditions, like many other children in this country, unfortunately. This case is worth giving the best we’ve got and making every effort. If we can help these kids to keep on going to school, then we have managed to do an act of kindness that will encourage others to follow us and get involved.” Florin Negruțiu, journalist

„This is my first half marathon. I did it to answer Omid’s challenge and after all it’s a challenge to myself. I’m motivated by the thought that we have managed to get people to donate in order to help these children and the family that we ran for.” Claudiu Pândaru, journalist

„This race was inspirational – like all the other races I participated in for Hope and Homes for Children, and the atmosphere was great both during the run and at the Foundation’s tent. I run for Hope and Homes for Children because I believe strongly in their cause. I believe in the power of the family to propel you forward towards success in life: it is something that every child should have.” Marius Pancu, Digi 24 journalist