20,000 run in Jerusalem marathon

Jerusalem marathon

About 20,000 runners took part in Jerusalem’s third annual marathon on Friday, with 1,000 police deployed to provide security along the route, police said.

The Palestine Liberation Organisation had called for a boycott of the marathon, part of which went through annexed, mainly Arab east Jerusalem.

Near the walled Old City’s Damascus Gate in east Jerusalem a group of protesters tried to approach the course but were kept back by police and barricades, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP.

“There was an attempt by about 50-60 demonstrators to try and make their way toward the running area,” he said. “(There were) no major incidents apart from that.”

Rosenfeld did not identify the protesters but said that one of them was questioned and then released.

The PLO appealed to “all participants and sponsors of the International Jerusalem Winner Marathon to withdraw their sponsorship and participation or else become complicit in covering up Israel’s grave human rights abuses in its occupation of the State of Palestine.”

The race had participants from 52 countries running in either the full 42-kilometre (26-mile) marathon, the half marathon or a 10-kilometre dash.

It started at the Israeli parliament and followed a hilly course, part of which goes through east Jerusalem including a short stretch inside the Old City.

Ethiopia’s Abraham Kabeto Ketla won the men’s marathon in a time of two hours, 16 minutes and 29 seconds, a record for the Jerusalem event, organisers said.

In second and third place were Kenyans Luka Kipkemoi Chelimo and Vincent Kiplagat Kiptoo.

Ethiopia’s Mihiret Anamo Anotonios won the women’s event for the second consecutive year, in a time of two hours, 47 minutes and 26 seconds.

Unlike the stormy conditions of last year, this Friday morning in Jerusalem was mild and dry.

Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the rest of the world.

The Jewish state considers Jerusalem its eternal and indivisible capital, a claim not recognised by the international community. The Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of their promised state.

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