Car-Free Day promotes risk-free, healthy city
- By Dulguun Bayarsaikhan -
- May 21,2019
The annual Car-Free Day continues to reach out to wider audience with an array of activities and entertainment aimed to promote healthy lifestyle and create a healthy, safe and comfortable living environment for residents.
Car-Free Day takes place in Ulaanbaatar on every Saturday of the third week of May. This year, it was held on May 18 under the slogan “Together for Risk-Free and Healthy Environment” and also marked the 380th anniversary of the establishment of the capital. As usual, the police restricted traffic movement in the city center, closed large markets and shopping centers, and temporarily altered bus routes to assist the event and allow locals to exercise by walking, ride bicycles, and running on auto roads.
This year’s Car-Free Day coincided with Buddha Purnima, or the birthday of Buddha, and monks residing in Ulaanbaatar marched from Peace Avenue to Sukhbaatar Square to celebrate the special day. Once they arrived at the square, the monks started a flash mob – only instead of dancing, they meditated with spiritual reading to bring peace to the country and the rest of the world.
A “Protecting Every Child from Traffic Accident” chalk drawing contest was organized among children outside the National Museum of Mongolia along with AKhA quiz on Mongolian culture.
The day also included a peaceful demonstration by cyclers who want better infrastructure and regulation for cycling.
30,000 people run in UB Marathon
The Ulaanbaatar Marathon kicked off last Saturday for the sixth year with more than 30,000 runners from Mongolia and other countries.
This year, the marathon increased its categories from the usual full and half-length marathons. The additions included “health” marathon, family marathon and children’s marathons for amateur runners.
In his opening remarks, Mayor of Ulaanbaatar S.Amarsaikhan noted that the Ulaanbaatar Marathon is having more and more participants every year.
“Not only city residents and runners from other provinces but also international participants are joining the marathon. This shows how large-scale this sport event is becoming,” he said. “Now that lack of exercise is increasing among the public as technologies advance, and fewer people are walking, running and building muscles because of the high use of cars and smartphones, the Ulaanbaatar Mayor’s Office initiated Car-Free Day and Ulaanbaatar Marathon to allow residents to leave their car at home and walk, cycle and/ or run at least one day.”
Member of the national athletics team International Sports Master B.Munkhzaya came first in the full-length marathon for the fifth year. After winning, she said, “I’m really happy to have won this marathon for the fifth year. I’d like to thank my colleagues at the Armed Forces Military Unit No. 327. My next competition is the World Championships. I’d like to encourage all Mongolians to actively exercise every day.”
The Ulaanbaatar Marathon had around 16,000 participants in its first year back in 2014, but now, the number of participants exceeded 30,000.
Mayor considers organizing Car-Free Day on monthly basis
Mayor S.Amarsaikhan oversaw situations in Sukhbaatar District and listened to public requests on Car-Free Day.
A few residents proposed the mayor to organize Car-Free Day once a month now that warm seasons are starting and in consideration of its health benefits.
In response, the mayor said, “I’m happy to see families and friends running together in marathons and taking walks across Sukhbaatar Square, and children running around freely. This way, Ulaanbaatarians are able to spend at least one day without traffic or stress. I’ve met with residents while walking and listened to their requests. I will study if it’s possible to organize Car-Free Day not just once a year but maybe once a month during summer and follow up on this issue.”