Friday, June 21, 2019

Episode 12: The Palestine Marathon & Palestine Children's Relief Fund, Featuring founder George Zeidan and Team Palestine member Anwar Adas

Episode 12: The Palestine Marathon & PCRF is available on most Podcast Apps: Apple, Spotify, Anchor, Google
Start line at the 2018 Palestine Marathon

George Zeidan, founder of the Palestine Marathon is from Bethlehem and Anwar Adas, member of Team Palestine, is from Ramallah; They join us this week to discuss the Palestine Marathon and how their organizations contribute to sharing the joy of movement, spreading awareness of restrictions to that movement in Palestine and raising funds for local sports clubs, relief work and the Palestine Children Relief Fund. In this episode, we also hear from 2 running clubs back in the US dedicated to raising funds for PCRF, in Chicago and Atlanta (Arif Kazi).

George Zeidan is from modern Bethlehem, and first began distance running while taking part in varsity sports at the University of North Carolina. He was hooked after experiencing the US collegiate running community and when he returned home, he saw a tremendous opportunity to share this joy and "freedom of movement" with others in his home community. He found some international race organizing friends from to join him and create it's first official marathon, attracting over 600 runners in 2013, half international and half Palestinian. Above all, he sees this as a new way to attract attention to this part of the world, and let others see/meet real Palestinians.
George reminds us to "See running as a global sport, and something easy to do and essentially the same wherever you are." Partnered with his advocacy-oriented sister organization "Right to Movement Palestine", it has brought awareness to living conditions in the holy land and has been a platform to understand the severity of restrictions imposed on individuals' freedoms due to occupation. Relying on nine local (grassroots) mixed gender volunteer sports clubs, it has grown to nearly 5,000 runners last year! It has also changed the culture around running for women over time and hopes to inspire growth of women's sports in general. Some difficulties do exist and are not hidden from runners; when you run in Palestine, you pass checkpoints, the wall, the settlement , and the refugee camps. However, this is also the uniqueness of this race / human experience: runners will have a professional international marathon experience and at the same time experience the reality of living in this difficult corner of the globe. Link to Huffington Post Article about George's Marathon organizing challenges
Contact George:
Palestine Marathon 2020: OR Facebook Page

Anwar Adas with Team Palestine, "Active" Clubs training both indoors and outdoors

Our second featured guest, Anwar Abu Adas joins us from Ramallah, where he focuses most of his running time and energy on "Team Palestine for PCRF" (Palestine Children Relief Fund), which actually started with the support of runners in Chicago & provides much needed medical services / supplies to Palestinian children in the West Bank and Gaza Strip through volunteers and aid brought from across the globe. Team Palestine seeks to spreads knowledge about why this help is direly needed. As much as access to sports and healthy movement are basic necessities, he reminds us that good health of the younger generation is needed for both. In addition to it's fundraising goals for Palestine Relief, Team Palestine has a few other goals: First, spreading the culture of running among the Palestinian community through various weekly team activities, helping children create healthy environments and activities in their lives.
Team Palestine supporting the next generation of runners!
Second, preparing and training Palestinian runners with the opportunity to participate in bigger running events and even other international marathons, and third to encourage women's participation in sports at all levels, but especially building up to running.

Lastly, we are joined by PCRF fundraisers in local running clubs across the U.S., including Arif Kazi, who shares how important interfaith connections are in building understanding and why that's good for everyone in the the Atlanta running community. In Chicago and Atlanta, children in need are not only supported financially with funds from many major running events, but often flown in to receive specialized medical treatment from overseas, the Team Palestine community embraces them and above all hosts them in their home cities & makes them feel like family.
Team Palestine in Chicago (Ramallah, Atlanta, anywhere possible)  Visit Facebook Page
Atlanta Muslim Running Club: video  FB page
To learn about/support the PCRF cause: 

YOUTUBE video of 6th Annual Palestine Marathon Highlights

AMRC Group Walk/ Run
Indoor Training Night in one of many running clubs started across Palestine over the last 3-5 years!

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