Palestinians hold first Bethlehem marathon

  • Associated Press
  • April 21, 2013 - 4:33 AM

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

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

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

Abdul-Ghani says that because of Israel's separation barrier surrounding parts of the city, and its control over nearby land, there's not enough space to do a straight 42-kilometer (26 mile) run.

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

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

Some runners wore T-shirts honoring the Boston Marathon victims.

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