Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem 370.
(photo credit: Michael Omer-Man)
The Palestinians are planning their first marathon next month in response to the
Jerusalem Marathon that took place earlier this month.
marathon has been initiated by Danish and Palestinian runners, who hope to make
the race a recurring event.
“Roadblocks, Israeli army, settlements and
political conflict come to mind when most people think of Palestine – and this
is what everyday life looks like to Palestinians,” the organizers of the event,
Right To Movement Palestine Marathon, said.
“But Palestine also offers a
magnificent natural landscape and cultural heritage that they want to show the
world – not least the Church of the Nativity” in Bethlehem.
will kick off on April 21 from Bethlehem and take the runners on a four-loop
course for the marathon, or a two- or one-loop course for the half-marathon or
According to the organizers, the new marathon has
been in the works for a year. Two Danish women, Laerke Hein and Signe Fischer,
got the idea when they were brainstorming on developing a cultural
exchange-event between the Palestinians and Denmark.
“We do it to show
that the Palestinians love their land and have a lot to offer and are perfectly
capable of hosting an international marathon,” said Fischer, who has been
working for a Danish NGO in Jerusalem since 2009. “We want to contribute to tell
a different story than the one of conflict and war.”
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Fischer and her
colleague emphasized that “although this may sound as a pro- Palestinian event,
it is about giving the Palestinians the opportunity to invite people to explore
their beautiful country.”
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