“We hope that in a few years this race will start at the nativity church in Bethlehem and finish at Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.”
One of the most important events in Palestine is due to take place this Friday, 1 April 2016.
Organized by the Right To Movement global organization, the Palestine Marathon is expecting over 3500 runners, at least 700 of them internationals who will experience the reality in Palestine, starting with checkpoints, movement restrictions, refugee camps, and demolition threats.
The idea of the marathon started in 2012, to challenge the movement restrictions, especially that in Palestine, you can’t run more than 10 kilometers without borders, checkpoints or the wall, and so to finish a full marathon, you have to run the same route back and forth, and come to the finish line twice.
Founder and organizer of Right To Movement in Palestine, George Zeidan, says that the runners start the journey from a holy place [the nativity church], then pass by an Israeli checkpoint, then an illegal apartheid wall, then through Palestinian refugee camps, and finally finish in Al-Khader village which is threatened with confiscation.
“In order to understand our reality, you need to put on your running shoes and try to run anywhere, where you have restrictions. This is what’s happening to us here in Palestine,” George says.
The marathon will be 42 KM long, in addition to a half marathon and a 10K marathon.
45% of the registered runners are women, who will run side by side with men and challenge both stereotypes about women in sports and, movement restrictions by the Israeli occupation.