IAAF Officially Recognize Palestine Marathon

The Palestine Marathon. (Photo: Right to Movement, Signe Vest, file)

Five years into its launch, the Palestine Marathon has been officially recognized by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) on October 13. The move came after Etidal Abdelghani, the director general of the marathon, received an official certificate of recognition from the IAAF, in what has been deemed as an international sporting achievement.

The first marathon took place in April 2013 in the city of Bethlehem with the participation of 213 Palestinian and 218 foreigners from 21 countries; it was organized to protest against the checkpoints and call for the freedom of movement in the West Bank.

The number of people who registered to run in the 2017 Palestine Marathon amounted to 10,000 local and 6,200 foreign participants. This number is expected to increase for the 2018 marathon, scheduled for March 23.

The marathon will be held during the Christian holidays, as tourism is revived during that period. This would allow athletes to benefit from the activities organized by the municipality and the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. These activities include exhibitions as well as tours around the city.

The IAAF has recognized this marathon despite its distance not meeting the international standards requiring tracks of 42 uninterrupted kilometers. The IAAF accepted that the track be interrupted given the presence of checkpoints, the wall and several Israeli obstacles.

(Excerpts from Al-Monitor, Social Media)

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