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Ban On Female Runners Cancels Marathon

The Gaza Strip race that started in 2011 is no more.

The Gaza Strip race that started in 2011 is no more.

According to a report posted on NPR’s Web site, the NRWA Gaza Marathon, which had been scheduled for April 10, has been cancelled.

The reason: the Islamist Hamas movement that controls the area has banned women from running.

The U.N. Relief and Works Agency says it “regrets” the decision.

A total of 250 runners had registered for the 26.2-mile race. Of that, 119 of them were women.

“We did not tell UNRWA to cancel the marathon and we haven’t prevented it, but we laid down some conditions: We don’t want women and men mixing in the same place,” said Abdessalam Siyyam, cabinet secretary of the Hamas government. “We don’t want any women [16 and over] running uncovered.”

The marathon was originally to be a United Nations organized affair.

The event was first held in 2011 with more than 1,500 participants.

For More: NPR