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Egyptian Runner Raises Funds for Refugees at the Berlin Marathon

In an effort to raise funds for Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq, Hisham ElHifnawi is running for a cause at the Berlin Marathon, which kicks off in September.

In the spirit of Ramadan, and aiming to help tackle the refugee crisis that is seeing nearly five million Syrian people displaced from their homes, Egyptian athlete Hisham ElHifnawi is running for a cause at Berlin’s 43rd Marathon.

The Abu Dhabi-based runner is raising funds for Syrian refugees living in Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq through German charity organisation World Vision Deutschland, where he aims to collect 800 euros by July 18th.

“I was inspired by a friend of mine who cycled 100 miles across Europe for charity; through him, I got to know that big marathon events always have charity partners,” ElHifnawi tells CairoScene. “The good thing about this is that you can set up a webpage within the World Vision Deutschland page where people can donate directly to them,” he adds, as he points out that the funds will directly benefit children and families affected by the Syrian conflict in Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq.

According to UNHCR, 4.8 million Syrian nationals have been forced to leave their country since the civil war began, a figure that could be considerably higher given the number of people who are not registered with the UN organisation. In Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon, there are currently 2.1 million Syrians registered by UNHCR, while Turkey hosts 2.7 million registered people.

Having run numerous half-marathons, acquathlons, and ITU triathlon world series across the UAE, Oman, and the Iran International Marathon, the 29-year-old athlete is now gearing up for his second marathon, which will begin on September 25th. “I often run, and I wanted to run another marathon this year, but as I was not able to join the London Marathon, the next in turn to do my first run in Europe is Berlin’s 43rd Marathon, one of the biggest and fastest marathons."

“The first marathon I ran was in Shiraz, Iran. It was their first international marathon event and I thought of representing Egypt and Arabs amongst more than 20 nationalities; it was a message for peace to prevail,” he explains. “Out of all causes to run for in Berlin, the Syrian refugee crisis caught my eye. It is a hot topic and always will be until the war ends,” says the athlete, who is already planning his third marathon to be in Dublin next October.

Find more about the fundraising and donate through ElHifnawi's fundraiser page.