Friday, May 13, 2011

Second Annual Palestine 5K Run/Walk

We never knew there was so much that can be done before 11 am on a Friday morning. Usually we wake up around early afternoon, but today we were ready to roll!

*All pictures taken from the event's Facebook page, and are not our own mad photography skills

The Second Annual Palestine 5K Run/Walk took place today at 10:20 am, just five minutes after the 1K race took off. All proceeds (sign up fees are 20 shekels and they throw in a free t-shirt) go to the Abu Rayya Patient's Friends Society in Ramallah, a rehabilitation center for those with disabilities.

The last time we properly ran a race was sometime in 6th grade for Field Day. Nevertheless, we decided to go for it because it seemed like the only time in Ramallah where women can run without getting perved upon. So we showed up, in the wrong attire (jeans, yeah) and did a couple of miniature stretches. Our main gripe, due to our vampire nature, was the fact that the sun was out after yesterday's forecast promised a cloudy breezy day, perfect weather conditions so as to not sweat/glisten profusely. The breeze started soon after, and we took our places behind the green line. We were off!

There were so many people of different ages around. Little kids that barely came up to our knees were running in front of us, determined to finish all five kilometers. Our favorite was a blond family of four, the parents and their tiny scrumptious kids. We eyed our main competitors, the foreigners with skyscraper legs, and settled for nothing less than one of the trophies that were laid out on the table just outside the center. Wishful thinking, but the motivation was needed, especially after the first 100 meters. We then alternated between our version of power walking (plodding along) and jogging (an updated form of plodding), cursing Ramallah's steep streets. The roads were closed and the policemen refrained from their usual leery selves as they ensured that no cars would disrupt our course.

We ran. We skidded down steep streets, and huffed our way up. We walked. We eavesdropped on the banter around us. We ran again. King Julian from the movie Madagascar occupied our brains with his song. Physically fitta, physically fitta, I like to move it move it. The two cafes on the course, Zamn and Jasmine handed out cups of water. Volunteers encouraged us on with their witting colorful signs (Now You're Flying!). We felt our abdominal muscles flex. Encouraged by the thought that cheese and carrots could be grated on our newly formed abs we ran some more. Store owners, shop keepers, customers, passersby all stopped to watch us go. During the first half of the last kilometer, we started walking again. One policeman, with the look of someone who's been sucking on lemons for too long, sneered, "I've been up since 5 am manning the streets just so you can WALK? Run!" We looked back to see if this was an attempt at some humor or pervy encouragement. The pinched face glared back at us. For once, our withering looks of contempt had no effect on this sourpuss.

Finally we turned into the corner of the street where the finish line was. We flew like the wind (physically fitta), ecstatic to have finally taken part in a mini marathon and finishing it, when we noticed that half the runners were already there. But that was ok, especially for the two of us who count sleeping as a hobby. Next year, however we WILL come in first. Or at least in the top ten. The amazing thing about the whole race was that everyone had such a great time. We were all running/walking/plodding along with unconscious smiles on our faces, and we didn't mind that the tiny kids had more energy and were bounding along ahead of us. Of course we couldn't. We're fierce competitors, but not when we're so unprepared. And at the risk of using loser mentality, it's not all about winning. Duh.

As the last runners crossed the finish line (one was a woman pushing her baby in his stroller) we belatedly headed on downstairs in the center and outside for fun and games. First came a performance by Ashtar theatre company, but due to our hyperactive self-congratulatory remarks and tardiness we were unable to comprehend the message of it, and therefore we can only say that it had something to do with Red, White, and Gibberish. The kids in the audience however, seemed to be enjoying every moment of it. They were participating by screaming out “Red” or “White” and declaring why they choose the color they did. The came the awards ceremony. The first four trophies were handed out to the 1K competitors which consisted of kids. The first two boys and two girls who crossed the finish line were called up to the front of the pack (no stage) to receive their trophies. One of the girls was extremely proud of herself, running around screaming, “I won, I won!” As for the winners of the 5K, they were the first two male and two female skyscrapers to cross the finish line. Sadly that wasn’t us, but seriously we never had a chance against those ostricheetahs (Ostriches + cheetahs). We say in order to have a fair competition, we should demand that next year's rules should state that no participants taller than the average height 5’7 are allowed to join in. Actually, it won't matter since next year we will be physically fitta and poised to participate in the 2012 Olympics.


Check out the rest of the hundreds of pictures on the event's Facebook page.

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