UN agency nixes Gaza marathon over ban on women
UNRWA says 'disappointing' decision comes after Hamas-ruled Gaza imposed ban, run had aimed to raise funds for Gaza children.
Palestinian runner Nader al-Masri in Gaza Marathon Photo: REUTERS
The Hamas government on Tuesday expressed regret over UN Relief and Works Agency
for Palestine Refugees in the Near East’s decision to cancel a marathon because
of a ban on women’s participation.
The Hamas government defended its ban
on women from running, saying, “We had informed UNRWA of our decision to allow
the marathon to be held, but with some restrictions related to the traditions of
the Palestinian people.”
The marathon was scheduled for April 10. The UN
agency said that registered participants who still wish to come to Gaza are
welcome and that UNRWA is working on a program that includes other
“UNRWA sincerely regrets the inconvenience this causes to those
who planned to participate in the marathon,” the statement said.
past three years, the annual UNRWA Gaza Marathon had raised funds for UNRWA’s
summer program for children in Gaza. In the past, local parents have praised the
initiative as a welcome break from the difficulties of life in
According to UNRWA, a total of 551 local people were due to
participate in the Gaza Marathon, of which 266 are women. A total of 256
international runners, including 119 women, had signed up for the race.