Palestine Marathon attracts runners from around the world. It's a unique destination – not least for running tourism. But Right to Movement works to change that. That's why we've appointed a number of running storytellers. Our storytellers are happy to share their journey towards Palestine Marathon 2014. They blog about their training, their reasons for wanting to participate in a race like this, and sometimes life in general. Follow our blog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram page for updates on them.

Members of the press are welcome to contact our storytellers directly to set-up an interview.

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Ruya, Istanbul


Members of the Press are welcome to contact Ruya directly:

My name is Ruya Baraz. I was born in Istanbul and will soon turn 30. I’ve lived in Turkey almost my entire life except for 5 years that I spend studying in the US. Also, I have a college degree in Visual Communication Design.

About 2 weeks ago I left a job working with my father at our art gallery. I did it to work with something related to sports. I still don't really know what that "something" is yet, but I will soon figure it out! I have done sports almost my entire life. I used to play tennis and I also used to run when I was in middle school. We had a track team at school and I used to run hurdles for some reason. I probably thought it was cooler than just running.

Then about 3 years ago, I was feeling a little depressed over a breakup so I started running again. I didn't really have a purpose with the run I just went out and ran. It was like therapy. Then I got addicted to it and started doing it regularly. Now, we even have our own running crew in Istanbul, "Istanbul Koşu Kuvvetleri", which means something like "Run Force Istanbul". When you run with a crew, you get to meet a lot of cool people from around the world (Thanks to social media!). I met Nanna through our running photos on Instagram. She emailed me one day to tell me about the "Right to Movement". Without any hesitation I said "OK!". I guess being from the Middle East, feeling that need of "freedom" made me feel so passionately about this movement.

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Bassel, New York


Members of the Press are welcome to contact Bassel directly:
Hello, my name is Bassel Ahmad and I am a Palestinian living in New York City. I was born in the United States and lived in Palestine between the years 2000-2003. Currently I am in my second year of college and studying International Criminal Justice.
It was in my second year of High School when I ran my first ever 5k that I decided to start training for the Marathon Distance. I have ran for my high school track team and for my college cross country team. Currently I have completed 3 half marathons and one full marathon and a bunch of shorter distance races (1 Mile, 2 mile, 5k, 10k, 15k, 18 Mile).
Summer of 2013, I visited El-Bireh, Palestine with my family for 6 weeks. Every night I would go out and run and I'd get stopped by locals wanting an explanation of what I am doing. The same would happen when I stayed in the village of El-Mughayer.
What does running mean to me?


To me, running is more than just a sport or an activity. It became part of my life. I wake up early mornings, eliminated fatty foods and sugary drinks, and make room for another late night long run. Running is more than a sport, it's a way to express and show your Right To Movement.




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Maria, Sigtuna


Members of the Press are welcome to contact Maria directly:

My name is Maria Jonsson. I´m a teacher and proud mother of three. I spend my holy spare time at the gym (Tabata, TRX, boxing and SomaMove) or running through my beautiful city of ruins. Through the woods, along the shore and the small town harbor.  Mostly only 5 or 10 km. I prefer running late nights alone, or early Sunday morning warmups with my boxing friends.

I read about Palestine Marathon just before the race in 2013, and decided that I´m SO running it in 2014. I love this whole idea. My heart beats for Palestine for many different reasons. This is a great opportunity to show support, set up a goal and make a visit with worldwide running friends.

I´m not a long distance runner. Yet. I´ve signed up for the 10km race this time, aiming for a half marathon the next….I´m looking for Swedish runners to join! Where are you? Sign up and let´s travel together!
This is a wish for my fortieth year.



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Nanna, Copenhagen


Members of the Press are welcome to contact Nanna directly:

My name is Nanna and I live in Copenhagen with my two sons. I started running late in life, some four years ago – but after awhile I got the taste of it and started pushing myself a bit more – so last year I started running farther and faster. I run with @nbrorunning and a bunch of international running crew all connected in Instagram and races around the world. Through running I have connected with some amazing people – ran a marathon and this year I am determined to do more. That means running a race like the Palestine Marathon to support the right to movement and to show that there are other races than the sight-seeing races.

Through running I have met all these strong women. I am a part of a project we call VOLTWOMEN. We want to support women and show that women running is more than jogging and pink fun-runs but hardcore women who in different levels push themselves. It is greatly inspired by my interaction with Jessie Zapo in NYC who has had a focus on elevating women's running for years and formed @blackroses a year ago. The freedom to move is key – wether its running or as a metaphor for life. Can't wait to run more


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Celia, Washington DC


Members of the Press are welcome to contact Celia directly:

Hi my name is Celia, I live in Washington, DC, and I have a love/hate relationship with running: I love the challenge of distance running, I love discovering what my body is capable of, pushing myself to new limits and the benefits I reap for my health, I love the camaraderie and support among runners, and the bragging rights after finishing a marathon, I love that running allows you to be completely in control of your body. I hate waking up early, I hate the constant looming schedule, all the commitment it takes to actually run 26.2 miles on race day. But that's the beauty of running – despite the bad, it feels so good to cross the finish line and it's all worth it.


I got into running 5ks when I was in college but really got hooked in 2010 after training for my first half marathon. I've been regularly running since then, every length of race, with a handful of half and full marathons, including the Right to Movement last year. I'm returning for the 2nd year, this time bringing a group of friends with me, because of the amazing experience I had running last year. To embody and express through my running this basic human desire and right to movement is the least I can do.


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George, Bethlehem


Members of the Press are welcome to contact George directly: 

My name is George Zeidan, I am Palestinian born and raised in the old City of Jerusalem. Sports is my inspiration and my way of identifying myself. I have been on Chowan University tennis team in the U.S. for three years. Currently, I am playing for Orthodoxy Bet Jala Basketball team in the first Division league in Palestine.

I have only been running for six month. It all started out for increasing my strength, endurance,  as well as getting in a better shape. Soon after, exactly when the Palestine marathon was promoted, I felt I was running for different purposes. I am running to present Palestine in front of the whole world. I am running for the freedom of Palestine and my people.  I am running for Palestinian women who are seeking their freedom and great liberty. I am running to inform everybody that we Palestinians are just like everyone else, we run, dance, sing, play, jump, and have fun, not only that but we are also good at it. Nowadays, I am running for much more important reasons !

Soon in April , I hope I will manage to complete a full marathon in the holy city of Bethlehem.





Karen, Copenhagen


Members of the Press are welcome to contact Karen directly: 

My name is Karen and I am a marathon runner. I like to experience new ground, meeting people and travelling for runs. So far I ran 34 marathons. I’m going for max 50, so I am really picky about the last 16. I started late in life, ran my first marathon in Copenhagen in 2007 and got addicted! I also like half marathons a lot. I enjoy good food, also a reason to run and not least keep in shape!

A huge benefit of running is that I meet so much love amongst runners all over the world. I am married to a fantastic man, who also runs marathons – but far from 34 like me! He supports and understands my passion for running. The fact that I don’t have children along with my job as a nurse is a good platform for my active running life. I can schedule and do extra shifts. My running family keeps expanding every month and my training is mostly done early mornings or with my running crew NBRO-runners of Copenhagen.

She contributes to our blog and is an avid photographer when she's running.

Check her blogs and Instagram