May 2008 - Casablanca - Morocco
(Exact date to be announced soon)
RUN FOR FUN
This fantastic road race has a field of nearly thirty thousand women of all ages and many different nationalities, all running together in a spirit of celebration for women's solidarity and the pure pleasure of finding themselves actors in this epic event.
This race is organised by the Moroccan legend Nawal El Moutawakel - who became the first Moroccan, African and Muslim woman to win an Olympic gold medal, when she won the 400 metres Hurdles gold medal in Los Angeles in 1984 (currently member of the Olympic Committee and President of The Moroccan Association Sport & Development)
A Fantastic Display
The participation and the notoriety of the race have grown exponentially, attracting women in 2001, to pass the symbolic figure of 20,000 in 2005 and nearly 30,000 today. During 2007 the organisers had pegged the official entries at 25,000, but many of the 5000 plus women who had not been in time to get their official bib number turned up to participate anyway.
Some running, many walking, women from the early teens to their seventies worked their way around the course traced through the streets of Casablanca from the start in front of the Wilaya of Casablanca (seat of the regional government of the Greater Casablanca area) to pass along the sea front and beneath the towering walls of the Hassan II Mosque to the finish line before the Wilaya.
2007 Leading Results
1- Zhor El Kamch (Morocco) 31:56
2- Pauline Wangui (Kenya) 32:09
3- Magdaline Symbua Mukunzi (Kenya) 32:17
4- Azaech Masreshe (Ethiopia) 32:38
5- Ait Salem Souad (Ageria) 32:57
The Moroccan Sport and Development Association, the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and the Regional Ministry of National Education jointly launched the Courir Pour La Vie project which focuses on actively encouraging rural Moroccan girls to take part in sport. The objective is to increase the confidence and independence of the girls through sporting activities and workshops so that they have the resources to continue their education rather than following the traditional pattern of leaving school early and undergoing arranged marriages.
A pilot version of the project began in January 2007, targeting six schools and involving 180 girls. The girls, aged 12-15, took part in a programme that consisted of five and a half hours per week of sporting and citizenship activities, covering subjects such as women's health, women's hygiene and nutrition. The culmination of the scheme comes when girls from the project took part in the 2007 Casablanca Women Run (10K)
International stars on hand
Once again the 2007 Casablanca Women Run was attended by a number of international sports stars, with Marie-José Perec again running the course and Heike Drechsler and Daley Thompson (Britain's Decathlon legend) joining the wife of IAAF President Lamine Diack and a host of other personalities in the VIP tribune.
Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com
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