Over 2000 school children and 200 adults, including LFPME’s Del and Komal, took part in the Gaza Marathon on Thursday (1st March, 2012). The participants ran various distances from Beit Hanoun in the north of Gaza near the Israeli border to the South of the strip, next to the border with Egypt.
The participants endured tough weather conditions and struggled against the forceful head winds (of more than 50mph), as well as sand storms and the rain as they made their way down Gaza’s coastal road.
The atrocious weather did not dampen the spirits. The children enthusiastically ran relays of 1km along the full marathon route and the adults ran either the full or half marathon or the 10km run. There was also a 500 metre route for disabled children.
LFPME"s Del ran the full marathon and Komal completed the 10km run.
The winner of the Gaza Marathon was Nader al-Masri who also won the first Gaza Marathon held last year. Due to adverse weather he crossed the finish line in 3 hours and 15 minutes, half an hour more than his previous time.
Del managed to complete the full marathon in 5 hours and Komal completed the 10km run in just under 90 minutes.
Speaking after the race Del said ‘It was the toughest thing I have done and the extremely poor weather with the sand storms, rain and strong head winds which buffeted you along most of the route meant it was particularly punishing.’ He went on to say ‘throughout the race there were several times I felt I could not continue, especially when being repeatedly sand blasted. It sometimes felt like you were going through the motions of running but without moving forward. But seeing the enthusiasm of the kids running alongside us and being given wonderful encouragement from Palestinians and UNRWA staff long the route, including being joined by an elderly Palestinian passerby who decided to run with me for a few minutes in solidarity and support, help me get to the end. It was the most amazing day and brilliant experience.’
After completing the 10km run Komal said’ as someone who has never even run for a bus in London, it was a challenging but unforgettable experience. Running in the midst of a storm – was pretty gruelling and at times painful but the excitement and enthusiasm of being involved and being with fellow runners from various places around the World and the kids and the local people made it incredibly motivating and inspiring. I would definitely encourage others to take part next year.’
The Gaza marathon helped create a glimpse of normality for the people of Gaza while highlighting the difficulties of life there due to the continued Israeli blockade.
Del and Komal managed to raise £6300 which will support the UNRWA Summer Games which will provide sporting, art, theatre and cultural activities during the summer for 250,000 children in Gaza and support LFPME to host awareness raising events in the UK.
LFPME’s Komal and Del would like to thank supporters and friends for their support and sponsorship for the Gaza Marathon. A total of £6300 has been raised as of 6th March 2012. (You can still donate here)
For more information about the UNRWA Summer Games please see here.
For further information please contact us at: Info@lfpme.org
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