By David Gold

Billion Trees_22_MayMay 23 - Thousands of Russians have taken part in the Green Marathon, which saw them complete a 200-kilometres Olympic run and plant trees across the country.

The marathon (pictured below) took place in 42 cities including Moscow, Sochi and St Petersburg.

Sochi 2014 volunteers were among those who helped site almost 2,000 trees which will absorb more than 1,200 tons of carbon dioxide a year.

The initiative was part of the Billion Trees initiative (pictured top) which was implemented by the United Nations globally.

This represents a key part of Sochi's environmental strategy for the Winter Olympics and Paralympics the city is hosting in two years' time.

The Organising Committee has been working hard to ensure the Games are environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Sberbank, a Sochi 2014 general partner, organised the Green Marathon and its employees were among those who took part.

Green Marathon_22_May
Nick Nuttall, United Nations Environment Programme spokesman, said: "The Green Marathon campaign is a great opportunity for everyone to take part in the marathon and get involved in the global environmental Billion Trees Campaign.

"We hope to see more 'green' campaigns and, as a result, thousands more trees planted before Sochi 2014.

"These events once again highlight the strong link between sport and the environment."

Dmitry Chernyshenko, the President and chief executive of Sochi 2014, added: "The Green Marathon is a great sports festival for the entire nation.

"We are grateful to our long-time partner, Sberbank of Russia, that provided an opportunity for everyone to take part, promoting a healthy lifestyle and encouraging all of us to look after the environment.

"Planting trees helps to create the 'green heritage' of the Games even today, and reaffirms our commitment to stage the Games in harmony with nature."

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