PHOTOS: Running between the walls in the Palestine Marathon

Palestinian and international runners criss-crossed the West Bank town of Bethlehem under the banner of ‘Right to Movement.’

Photos and text by: Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org

Runners pass the Israeli Separation Wall dividing the West Bank city of Bethlehem in the third annual Palestine Marathon, March 27, 2015. Some 3,200 Palestinian and international runners participated in 10K, half marathon and full marathon races under the title “Right to Movement”. Full marathon runners had to complete two laps of the same route, as organizers were unable to find a single course of 42 uninterrupted kilometers under Palestinian Authority control in the area.
Runners pass the Israeli Separation Wall dividing the West Bank city of Bethlehem in the third annual Palestine Marathon, March 27, 2015. Some 3,200 Palestinian and international runners participated in 10K, half marathon and full marathon races under the title “Right to Movement”. Full marathon runners had to complete two laps of the same route, as organizers were unable to find a single course of 42 uninterrupted kilometers under Palestinian Authority control in the area.

Under the theme “Right to Movement,” about 3,200 participants from all over Palestine—and more than 50 countries around the world—joined the third annual Palestine International Marathon on Friday, which took place in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

The marathon aimed to highlight the restriction of Palestinian movement under Israeli military occupation. The route also included Aida refugee camp, where hundreds of Palestinians have lived since the Nakba, the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland, before, during and after the 1948 war.Palestinians and internationals of all ages competed in either 10K, half marathon or full marathon versions of the race. Like every year, runners had to complete two laps of the same route, since organizers were unable to find a single course of 42 uninterrupted kilometers under Palestinian Authority control in the city, which is surrounded by the separation wall, checkpoints and Israeli settlements.

Ali Sami, a Palestinian participant, said: “I am happy to see people from around the world here in solidarity with Palestine. It is unique to see this number of internationals at such a local event.”

“It’s good to run for Palestine,” said one Spanish participant. “Every time I see the wall I feel trouble, but I am amazed today to see hope in the Palestinians’ eyes while running around their city.”

Participants warm up before the third annual Palestine Marathon, Bethlehem, West Bank, March 27, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
Participants warm up before the third annual Palestine Marathon, Bethlehem, West Bank, March 27, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

 

A Palestinian participant releases a dove carrying a piece of paper that reads ‘Back to Jaffa,’ as a symbol of the Palestinian right of return at the start of the third annual Palestine Marathon, Bethlehem, West Bank, March 27, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
A Palestinian participant releases a dove carrying a piece of paper that reads ‘Back to Jaffa,’ as a symbol of the Palestinian right of return at the start of the third annual Palestine Marathon, Bethlehem, West Bank, March 27, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

 

Runners cross the start line in Bethlehem’s Manger Square during the third annual Palestine Marathon, March 27, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
Runners cross the start line in Bethlehem’s Manger Square during the third annual Palestine Marathon, March 27, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

 

Supporters, both Palestinian and international, stand in front of Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity in Manger Square during the third annual Palestine Marathon, March 27, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
Supporters, both Palestinian and international, stand in front of Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity in Manger Square during the third annual Palestine Marathon, March 27, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

 

Palestinian and international runners pass through Aida refugee camp during the third annual Palestine Marathon, March 27, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
Palestinian and international runners pass through Aida refugee camp during the third annual Palestine Marathon, March 27, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

 

Runners pass graffiti on the Israeli separation wall dividing the West Bank city of Bethlehem in the third annual Palestine Marathon, March 27, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
Runners pass graffiti on the Israeli separation wall dividing the West Bank city of Bethlehem in the third annual Palestine Marathon, March 27, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

 

Palestinian and international competitors run along Bethlehem’s Manger Street during the third annual Palestine Marathon, Bethlehem, West Bank, March 27, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
Palestinian and international competitors run along Bethlehem’s Manger Street during the third annual Palestine Marathon, Bethlehem, West Bank, March 27, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

 

Runners run along the Israeli separation wall, which divides the West Bank city of Bethlehem, during the third annual Palestine Marathon, March 27, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
Runners run along the Israeli separation wall, which divides the West Bank city of Bethlehem, during the third annual Palestine Marathon, March 27, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

 

A participant shows off his olive-wood medals following the third annual Palestine Marathon, Bethlehem, West Bank, March 27, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
A participant shows off his olive-wood medals following the third annual Palestine Marathon, Bethlehem, West Bank, March 27, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

 

Brazilian and Palestinian winners celebrate following the third annual Palestine Marathon, Bethlehem, West Bank, March 27, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
Brazilian and Palestinian winners celebrate following the third annual Palestine Marathon, Bethlehem, West Bank, March 27, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)