Sport Aid - The Race Against Time
Bob Geldof, the man behind Live Aid, also helped organize Sport Aid - The Race Against Time.

This was a marathon event held simultaneously around the globe - On the 25th of May 1986, Sport Aid, a massive event combining humanitarian aid and sports, united several millions of people across the five continents.

Participants from all over the world all did the same thing: they walked or ran 10 km, at exactly the same moment (15h GMT) and with exactly the same goal: fighting famine in Africa.

No less than 274 cities in 78 countries were involved.

$100 million was raised for famine relief in Africa.

$45 million was brought in from the global broadcast of a two-hour television special that reached 750 million people.

Worldwide there were over 20 million people participating in this Sport Aid '86 event.

Today, Sport Aid is still the biggest sporting event ever organized.

I am looking for information and personal stories about Sport Aid, and information about the production and logistics behind Sport Aid.
I personally ran the 10K race in San Francisco and it was one of the greatest and most influential experiences of my life.
Contact me at:
Brian Webster and Associates

This is a video that documented the 1986 effort: "Sport Aid - The Race Against Time" - includes the music of The Cars, Tears for Fears, U2, The Police, The Hollies, Band Aid, Vangelis - featuring Sebastian Coe and a cast of millions! Running time 40 minutes - dated 1986

Here are five short clips from that video!



Here are three short clips from that video!

Please note all rights to this video belong to the Band Aid Charitable Trust. These video clips are not intended for commercial use or personal entertainment proposes. The only purpose is to give a historical perspective to a proposal developed by Human Race Day. No endorsements, permissions or affiliations should be implied. All copyrights and rights to reproduction belong to the Band Aid Charitable Trust.


3. Bob Geldof Greeting

4. Races Start

5. Policy Makers & PSA

Sport Aid - Millions around the world will run the Race Against Time
Bob Geldof - Guest Columnist
LONDON - The USA is the world's "action" nation. It can be the leader of people-power for Africa - and should be.
Sport Aid, supported by the U.N. Children's Fund, is the follow-on fund-raiser from Live Aid. It is the opportunity for who watched and supported Live Aid to physically do something for Africa. Millions of people in more than 230
cities around the world will run the Race Against Time synchronized fun runs.
Hunger is physical deprivation. It exists on different levels around the world. It is a massive problem, and it just does not go away - it won't disappear on its own.
There is no shame in hunger. The shame is on us because we allow it to go on. If all us run on Sunday, we can show our commitment to want to end this situation.
Morality is about politics. It's up to us care for people who suffer anywhere this problem exists. Not just for now, but for a long time into the future.
Africa's problems are extreme. People are dying every day. It is subject to enormous environmental factors. No rain. Drought. No crops. No food. No money. Huge international debt repayments.
You think $3 billion we spent in the last two years for Africa is a lot? Africa paid out $12 billion in debt repayment and interest! We must break this stupidity and act now. Run with me and the world on Sunday.
Band Aid, Live Aid, Fashion Aid all centered on forms of entertainment. They, their organizers, and performers transcended existing barriers for Africa. Sport Aid and the Race Against Time is the biggest fund-raiser ever. It is actually happening worldwide at one moment, 11a.m. EDT Sunday. It will be historic. It will remind us of extremes of physical deprivation versus physical well-being. Sport Aid is physical people power.
Omar Khalifa - the lone African runner - will light the Sport Aid flame at the United Nations, a global start signal that will set the world running - in New York, San Francisco, Anchorage, and beyond.
Sport Aid and Hands Across America are not competitive. The cause is the same. I want to see the USA run in the morning and hold hands in the afternoon. I'll be out there running. Join me. Feet around the world in the morning, hands across the USA in the afternoon.
Bob Geldof, Irish rock musician, organized Band Aid and other hunger relief efforts.
20 Million Run to Raise Money for the Starving in Africa
by Steve Lohr - Special to The New York Times
LONDON, May 25 - With 200,000 Londoners setting the pace, more than 20 million runners in 76 countries ran today in Sport Aid, a global benefit to raise money for the starving of Africa.
Through individual donations and corporate sponsorships, organizers of Sport Aid said they hoped to raise as much as $150 million for the victims of famine and drought making the run the largest single fund-raising event in history.
Only the United States, where the event clashed with the better publicized Hands Across America fund-raiser for the hungry and homeless was the reception accorded Sport Aid seen as a conspicuous
disappointment by organizers. The reception in America disturbed some Sport Aid figures especially because a central event was the lighting of a symbolic torch at the United Nations by Omar Khalifa, a champion Sudanese runner.
Mr. Khalifa began his journey to the United Nations on May 16, when he lit a torch from the embers of fire in El Moweilih relief camp in the Sudan. He was then flown to 12 European capitals, running through each and being greeted by leaders like Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II.
4,000 Run in New York
Yet in contrast to the big turn out in many cities, only about 4,000 runners took part in New York. Though there were Sport Aid events in 22 American cities, these were generally far smaller than in many European cities.
"Somehow, America has been about the only country that has not been caught up in the enthusiasm." said Nick Carter, a Sport Aid spokesman in London. "People there have left themselves out. "
Bob Geldof, the Irish rock singer-turned-philanthropist, said, "Today means a lot of money, a lot of political convictions and a lot hope for Africa." A principle organizer for Sport Aid , was also the driving force behind Band Aid in 1984 and Live Aid last year, two similar fundraising efforts for Africa.
Britain was the biggest backer for Sport Aid, with million participants not only in runs of six and a quarter miles in 13 cities, but also in hundreds of other events from cycling to belly dancing.
Budapest Turnout: 10,000
The turnout for the benefit enthusiastic in most of the 266 participating cities. In Barcelona, 50,000 runners took part. In Budapest, 10,000 people ran; about 30,000 Parisians took part.
In some countries weather inclement and timing were problems. The so-called Race Against Time began at 4 P.M., Greenwich mean time. So in Auckland New Zealand, the race began in the 4 A.M. driving rain.
In Ouagadougou, capital of the West African nation of Burkina Faso, formerly Upper Volta, tens of thousands took part despite temperatures of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The entire Cabinet of Burkina Faso ran in the heat, as decreed by the President, Capt. Thomas Sankara.
Some 700 million television viewers around the world watched the event as a two-hour special.
Organizer Stays in London
Mr. Geldof, who had intended to go with Mr. Khalifa to New York, decided against it, primarily because he was suffering from tonsillitis, though he did run part of the distance in London today.
No American network was interested in the Sport Aid transmission, and the support for Hands Across America was something Sport Aid could not match.
"Hands Across America got head start on us and got a lot of attention here," said Mark Neison, a New York spokesman for Sport Aid. "It obviously hurt our cause."
Sport Aid, despite the conflict with Hands Across America, stuck to its date because it was near the start of the United Nations special session on Africa on Tuesday.
Who Says the World Has Aid Fatigue?
To the Editor:
What is all this nonsense about aid fatigue surrounding Hands Across America and Sport Aid?
On one day, some five million Americans linked hands virtually across this continent and raised as yet uncounted millions of dollars for this country's hungry and homeless. On the same day, some 20 million people in over 266 cities and 74 countries on 6 continents ran for the hungry and homeless of Africa, also raising as yet uncounted millions.
Both projects set virtually inconceivable objectives. Yet Hands Across America fell only a few hundred miles short - largely to avoid danger to the willing participants, and Sport Aid had people in rich and poor countries alike raising money to help people in need in Africa.
Either event by itself would rank as the largest simultaneous mass participation demonstration ever mobilized for any cause. Together, they represent an incredible mass outpouring of concern and commitment - of demand- that those who hunger should be fed and those who are
vulnerable should be sheltered.
Obviously, the people of the world are not aided out. They are more determined than ever to embrace
all humanity as one people. They await their governments to catch up with them.
James P Grant
Executive Director
United Nations Children's Fund
New York, May 26, 1986