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ISF runs through City of Peace

His Excellency Tony Fautua with Australian Ambassador to Timor Leste, His Excellency Miles Armitage. The person in the middle is Australian Major with UISF, Renee Kidson
His Excellency Tony Fautua with Australian Ambassador to Timor Leste, His Excellency Miles Armitage. In the middle is Australian Major with UISF, Renee Kidson [20110706_WN_C1022490_004]

20 July 2011

70 New Zealand and Australian soldiers, sailors and airmen and women from the International Stabilisation Force (ISF) joined thousands of local and international competitors for the Dili City of Peace Marathon event in Timor-Leste last month.

Runners competed in three categories: the 42-kilometre Full Marathon, 21-kilometre half Marathon and a seven-kilometre Run for Peace.

The streets of Dili were lined with thousands of local East Timorese as runners weaved their way through the city – starting and finishing opposite the Government Palace (Palacio do Governo).

Entrants in the Run for Peace included the President of Timor-Leste, Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta and ISF Commander, Colonel Mick Reilly.

While 51 ANZAC personnel entered the Run for Peace, five ran the full marathon and 14 completed the half marathon including Deputy Commander of the ISF, Royal New Zealand Air Force Wing Commander, Sam Leske.

Wing Commander Leske said the involvement of ISF soldiers came from a strong desire to join with the people of Timor-Leste in a major international event that also had important local significance. 

He said it was an extremely positive sign of the progress being made in Timor-Leste over recent years.

The ISF is in the country at the invitation of the Government of Timor-Leste to support East Timorese security forces to maintain a secure and stable environment.

“New Zealand acknowledges the efforts of the Government of Timor-Leste and the people of Timor-Leste in achieving the stable conditions being experienced,” Wing Commander Leske said.

The ISF comprises nearly 500 personnel from the New Zealand and Australian Defence Forces.

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