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Last updated at 17:40 BST, Friday, 06 May 2011

Gaza Strip runs its first marathon

Summary

6 May 2011

More than 1,000 school children took part in the first-ever Gaza marathon. The run was organised by UN worker Gemma Connell, one of two foreigners and seven Gazans who finished the full race.

Reporter:
Jon Donnison

Palestinian runners including Nader el Masri (in yellow) participate in the first Gaza marathon

Olympic athlete Nader el Masri (in yellow) was among the participants

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Report

Something new in Gaza. The tiny Palestinian territory is only just big enough to hold a marathon. But luckily for the runners, the narrow strip of land next to the Mediterranean is almost exactly 26 miles long.

The athletes covered it top to bottom. Hundreds of school children ran the distance in relays, running a mile or so each.

The event was organised by the United Nations. Some of their international staff even ran the whole distance.

And some of the athletes took it pretty seriously. Nader el Masri has Olympic form. The Gazan athlete competed in the 5000 metres in Beijing in 2008. He's hoping to qualify for London 2012. He ran out a pretty easy winner, finishing in two hours 43 minutes.

Jon Donnison, BBC News

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Vocabulary

only just

barely

to hold

to stage or host

covered it

travelled or completed it

in relays

in teams: each person ran part of the distance

distance

amount of space between places

took it pretty seriously

showed commitment and a belief that it (the race) was important

has (Olympic) form

here, has previous experience of, or success in (the Olympics)

competed in

took part in and tried to win

to qualify for

to win a place or entry into

ran out

completed the race

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