UNRWA cancels 2013 Gaza Marathon

05 March 2013

05 March 2013

UNRWA regrets to announce that it has cancelled the third Gaza marathon which was to be held on 10 April. This follows the decision by the authorities in Gaza not to allow women to participate.

Registered participants who still wish to come to Gaza are welcome and UNRWA is working on a programme of other events, which will be forwarded to those interested as soon as possible.

UNRWA is disappointed with this decision, and sincerely regrets the inconvenience this may cause to those who planned to participate in the marathon.

Background information

For the past three years, the annual UNRWA Gaza Marathon has raised funds for UNRWA’s summer programme for children in Gaza. In the past, local parents have praised the initiative as a welcome break from the difficulties of life in Gaza. 

A total of 551 local people were due to participate in the 2013 UNRWA Gaza Marathon, of which 266 are women. Of these women, 51 were hoping to participate in one of the running events (marathon, half-marathon or 10 kilometres), while 215 were aiming to participate in walks of two or ten kilometres.

A total of 256 international runners had signed up so far, of which 119 are women.

As in 2012, a total of 1,600 children from UNRWA‘s 243 schools across Gaza were meant to participate in relays.

In 2012, 393 Gazans participated in the marathon alongside 84 international runners.

Palestinian Olympian Nader el Masri, who has this year been helping UNRWA to train with local people, won the 2012 marathon with a time of 2 hours, 42 minutes and 47 seconds. 

Support UNRWA‘s summer fun programme in Gaza

Show your support for the children of Gaza by making a donation to UNRWA‘s Summer Fun Weeks, for which the marathon was intended to raise funds.

  • $18 will allow a child to join the Summer Fun Weeks

We will especially target children with special needs and children living under the poverty line. 

  • $180 will give 10 children the chance to join the Summer Fun Weeks
  • $720 will give an entire class of primary school children the chance to join the Summer Fun Weeks

We will focus on gender balance to ensure an equal number of boys and girls participating.

Read more about the programme here.


UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency‘s General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at USD 67.2 million.

UNRWA launched the #DignityIsPriceless campaign in Gaza on 22 January 2018. © 2018 UNRWA Photo Rushdi Al Saraj
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