Close to 900 children and grownups in all ages showed up at the Abu Raya Rehabilitation wearing running shoes and ready for this year’s Annual Palestine 5k Run/Walk on May 13.
For the second year in a row a group of local volunteers and the center of Abu Raya Rehabilitation initiated a 5k run and walk in the Ramallah area. Devoted to the slogan “For our children”, the profit of this year’s race went to support children with disabilities. Also, the aim of the event was to make people aware of opportunities and challenges of children with disabilities and the need to integrate them into society, schools, and public life.
Around 700 people had signed up in advance for this years’ Annual Palestine 5k Run/Walk, the rest signed up on the day of the event.
“This year was a success! Participants came from all over Palestine to support this cause. It’s important to hold such events in Palestine in order to keep the community strong and linked which is sometimes difficult under the current political situations,” said Azza Hazan, a volunteer in the executive committee.
The first group of runners – mostly children – were sent off a little after 10 am for a one kilometer route, followed by a much larger group of semi-professional runners, walkers, families with strollers and even dogs in leashes.
Though it was a hot day, everyone seemed in good spirits and volunteers stood along the route distributing water and cheering for the hundreds of runners and walkers.
As the runners got close to the finish line they were met with cheers and applause, and the first ten male and female runners to complete the race were given medals.
One of the runners, Salma, finished the race in about 25 minutes. Smiling she expressed excitement about today’s event:
“It was really good fun – a few hills but lots of down hills as well. I came actually third place for the girls, so that was great,” she said.
The 5k race was initiated last year where the profits supported the newly opened children’s wing within the Palestine medical complex in Ramallah. With the great success of this year, the executive volunteer committee has already started planning for next year’s event, but has yet not finalized the specific cause.