Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

Palestinians hold first marathon

Around 1,000 people are taking part in the West Bank's first marathon

Palestinians and their supporters are running the West Bank's first marathon.

Itidal Abdul-Ghani, of the Palestinian Olympic Committee, said some 1,000 people are participating in Sunday's race - which includes shorter 10km and 20km options.

The marathon, taking place in cool, rainy weather, loops four times around Bethlehem, the traditional birthplace of Jesus.

Mr Abdul-Ghani says that because of Israel's separation barrier surrounding parts of the city, and its control over nearby land, there is not enough space to do a straight 26.2 mile run.

Israel says the barrier is needed to keep out attackers. Palestinians say it is a land grab.

The marathon comes six days after the Boston Marathon bombings and coincides with the London Marathon.

Some runners wore shirts honouring the Boston Marathon victims.

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