Posted by: Joe English | April 5, 2012

The Real Life Runner — A Run Across Palestine

Erin Crowell -- The Real Life Runner

While running a marathon is an amazing accomplishment, a Bucket List item for many before they die, imagine running five marathons in five consecutive days across a country torn by religious conflict.

That’s what a group of runners did this past February when they ran 129 miles across Palestine’s West Bank.

The Run Across Palestine (RAP) was an effort between On the Ground—a non-profit based in Traverse City, Michigan—and the Palestinian Fair Trade Association to raise money and awareness for olive farmers in the West Bank region.

Photo: Aubrey Ann Parker

The event raised scholarship money for the children of olive farmers and helped to plant thousands of trees in hopes to reestablish sustainable olive growing practices in a place whose history, economy, culture, and identity are all rooted in the ancient olive tree.

Chris Treter, OTG vice president and co-founder, said he chose a long distance running event because it’s something that grabs the attention of the general public due to the shear challenge of accomplishing it.

“By tying (long distance running) to something that is of benefit for the world makes sense to me,” he explained. “In my eyes, too many of the long distance ultra runners do it for their own gratification rather than to use the uniqueness for the greater good. What better way to know what you’re supporting than experiencing that place firsthand?

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