He hopes to make the Palestinian Olympic team.
He trained on potholed roads. His surroundings were bombed-out buildings. Yet on Thursday, Nader al-Masri of Palestine won the Gaza Strip’s first marathon. Masri represented Palestine in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He crossed the line in 2:42:47. Eight other runners took part in the race.
The marathon kicked off in the northern town of Beit Hanoun, which has been the scene of Israeli-Palestinian clashes in the past; it ended in Rafah along the Gaza-Egypt frontier.
“We have championships coming up and I hope to be selected for the London Marathon in 2012,” Masri said after finishing.
Chris Gunness is a spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which takes care of Palestinian refugees. Gunness noted that the race helped raise over $1 million was raised for children’s summer camps in the territory.
“You have the London Marathon, the Sydney Marathon, the New York Marathon and now the Gaza Marathon, it just shows that Gaza could be a normal place if it got the chance,” he said.
For More: Reuters
FILED UNDER: News TAGS: dangerous running / Egypt / Gaza Strip / impoverished runners / inaugural marathon / Israel / London Olympics / Middle East / Nader al-Masri / Palestine / Palestinian runner / running in a war zone