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An unusual new exhibition is raising eyebrows in downtown New York. A series of giant running shoes, designed by 20 well-known celebrities, has been placed around the city to raise awareness of an enduro-sport charity event taking place during July and August.

Courteney Cox, Rosie O'Donnell, Ben Harper, and Rachael Ray are just some of the actors, actresses, and musicians to have contributed the oversized footwear to Manhattan’s landscape. Each giant sneaker measures 3 feet by 5 feet, and draws attention to the Blue Planet Run, the first ever round-the-world running relay, which started in New York on July 1.

This special sporting event will see an international team of 20 athletes attempt to cover more than 15,000 miles in 100 days to promote the need for safe drinking water. The relay passes through 16 countries, including England, France, Germany, Belarus, and Japan, before finishing in New York on September 4.

The event has been organized by the Blue Planet Run Foundation, an organization founded in 2002 to assist in providing safe drinking water to 200 million people around the world by 2027, and is sponsored by the Dow Chemical Company.

“I am proud to participate in this project to help decrease the impact of water related diseases,” said American Beauty and Six Feet Under actress Mena Suvari, who designed one of the 20 sneaker statues. “Everyone involved is enthusiastic about helping to make a positive impact on people’s lives worldwide.”

Also as part of the event, the giant sneakers are to be auctioned on eBay. The bidding starts at $500, and runs from July 2 to July 12. All proceeds go directly to the Blue Planet Run Foundation, and the auction can be viewed at www.ebay.com/sneakersandthecity.

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