8 April 2011 – The United Nations agency assisting Palestinian refugees will stage the first-ever marathon in Gaza next month as part of its annual efforts to provide residents of the Strip with recreational opportunities.
The UNRWA Gaza Marathon will span the length of Gaza, from Beit Hanoun to Rafah, with children running in relay teams and adults running either the full 42.195-kilometre route or a half marathon or 10-kilometre race.
The event will take place on 5 May, and professional Gazan athletes training for the Olympics will be encouraged to take part, UNRWA reported in a press release issued this week.
UNRWA is holding the marathon to raise funds for its annual Summer Games, where activities ranging from sports to drama and arts and crafts will be staged to provide a psychological relief for Gaza’s younger residents.
An estimated 250,000 children took part in last year’s edition, where local children broke two world records – one for the most basketballs bounced simultaneously and another for the most kites flown simultaneously.
UNRWA is encouraging the public, through its website, to sponsor marathon participants and raise funds for the Summer Games programme.