On Sunday, with a start line at The Church of the Nativity, the inaugural Palestine Marathon was held in the streets of Bethlehem. Three-hundred and sixty runners representing 28 countries made 26.2 miles of history on a rainy, humid morning, covering a hilly course that rook them "from the Church of Nativity, along the Wall, through two refugee camps and turnaround point in a checkpoint."
The race was won by Abed El Naser Awajneh of Palestine, who finished in 3:09:47. Christine Gebler (Palestine) was the top women's finisher, winning in a time of 3:36:37.
The marathon was nearly 70 percent Palestinians, and women made up more than a third of the field.
Jacky Ka, a 24 year old women and first time half marathon-finisher, who has helped organize weekly training runs at the West Bank, says she is proud not only of her own performance, but also of the many women: "running up the final hill, I felt so exhausted, but also so proud and full of energy. Running is new to me - it is new to Palestinians - but I believe we will get a lot more women next year. I can't wait."
Registration for the 2014 race is expected to open soon at http://righttomovement.com/.
Right To Movement is the non-profit behind the marathon, with a goal to "increase the focus on the basic right of freedom of movement."
Running is a means of terrestrial locomotion allowing humans and other animals to move rapidly on foot. The Right to movement, means that you have right to move from A to B. Even taking the decision on where you want to be when and why. It is also one of the most basic human rights; Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state (Article 13 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights)