Run Arabia, run!
08 Mayo 2018 11:44
Someone once said that running is merely a series of confrontations between two parts of you. The one that wants to stop and the other that urges you to keep going. In this sense, until recently, Saudi Arabia has supported the first part of you completely. However, on March 3, 2018, more than 1,500 female runners participated in the first women-only mass race in the kingdom. Many of the female runners were dressed in traditional Muslim attire.
Be mindful of differences
Before we even start discussing the importance of this race and the influence it will have on future of female racers in Saudi Arabia, it should be noted that cultural differences between the West and the East are important. Certain customs, particularly relating to women, are difficult to change but slowly countries like Saudi Arabia are making strides for equal rights.
The winner of the race, Mizna Al Nassar, has been preparing for this opportunity since 2014. Her family have supported her throughout and now she plans on representing her country at the Olympics, just like she did at the Islamic solidarity and the Arab games. Additionally, in September 2017, hundreds of women were allowed to enter a sports venue in Riyadh for the first time to join Saudi Arabia’s national day celebration.
Possibilities are countless
Now that the first step has been taken, the possibilities are numerous. Al Nassar, the winner is expected to represent her country in the following Olympics in Tokyo 2020. Although an engineer, she managed to finish the 3-km race in 15 minutes, beating her fellow female runners. Most of them were local newbie runners, but there were also participants from US, Taiwan, and other countries.
The significance of this event
For some, this event is just a regular race. However, a serious shift has occurred in the mindset of many people living in this country. 2018 has been the year of innovations because there was also a lifting of a decades-long ban on cinemas. It is estimated that 70% of Saudi Arabia’s residents are characterised as young people, which means that this kind of shift will have a significant influence on the countries growth in both economic and cultural terms.