JEDDAH: King Abdullah Sports City (KASC) witnessed a rare event on Saturday: The biggest women’s running event in the city.
A public women’s running event is an unusual sight in the Kingdom. Many women’s races have been held in the past few years but privately, and they have been limited to certain universities and schools unlike this one, which was done on a city level.
The race was held in a fully equipped sports environment and ladies were free to wear normal sports suits, as it was an all-female event.
The marathon fence was covered with black satin to maintain the participants’ privacy.
The event, organized by Activity Team and Petromin Corp. and supported by the Saudi Mass Participation Federation, aimed to introduce the Saudi community to sports and encourage more people to participate in the forthcoming events.
There was a male running event in the morning at the same place, which was attended by males of all ages, and a chance for people with special needs (in wheelchairs) to participate from 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Access to the race was free for all the audience.
More than 350 female participants gathered in the KASC around 5 p.m. They were divided into three groups, as follows:
1. 4km group, children from 8 to 13
2. 8km group, teenagers from 14 to 17
3. 20km group, women between 18 and 60
Winner of the children’s group race, Lara Al-Saggaf, 12, who was awarded a PlayStation3, told Arab News: “I’m so happy. I challenged myself to reach the endpoint.”
Winner of the second race, Nadimah Abu Alaineen, 17, who won SR2,000 ($533), said: “It’s more than great to feel the spirit of the audience who were cheering for me.”
Arwaa Al-Amoodi, who won the third and longest race, told Arab News: “I am glad to win this race. I am actually a fitness coach.”
King Abdul Aziz Stadium and Al Wehda Club (a multi-sports club team from Makkah) will host the first women’s marathon in Makkah on April 6 under the patronage of the General Authority for Sport and the president of the Saudi Federation of Community Sports, Princess Reema bint Bandar.