SPBR 2020 – not cancelled but reconfigured!

Run for freedom

It is with great regret we have taken the decision to make a change to our wonderful solidarity event this year due to the COVID-19 emergency.

Rather than the wonderful community festival, we will be encouraging people to do a small activity in their home or garden – or local park, at safe distance from others – and send a picture to us, which we publish.

We will be providing more details and ideas over the coming weeks and while we would like you to do this in the 24 hours when the run would have taken place, June 20th midday to June 21st midday, you can obviously do it at any time.

Let’s have hundreds of small solidarity actions and shout out for Palestine!

News from our programmes in Gaza and the West Bank

The small park BIG RUN raises funds for a Healing Centre for children in Khuza’a, South Eastern Gaza and also for a Sheffield based fund that provides scholarships for Palestinian women to go to University.

The picture above shows the first students from the West Bank to benefit from the fund.

We have this news from these programmes:

CONGRATULATIONS to all the partner runs in Gaza

Runners in Khan Younis

CONGRATULATIONS, solidarity and friendship to all the runners and organisers of the runs in the Gaza Strip – in Khan Younis, Khaza’a, Beit Hanoun and Nussairat.  We here in Sheffield, UK, at Small Park BIG Run, were so proud and happy to run in solidarity with you last weekend.  We appreciate the very difficult circumstances and the challenges you face.  The hot weather is something we didn’t think of, especially as it was cold for summer here, and raining a lot, so it was hard to imagine it being too hot!!  But one of the three West Bank runs, in Ramallah told us they couldn’t run until later in the day on Saturday 15th, as it was too hot.  The rest of the runs (seven in all!) ran with an even greater challenge of the hot weather.  We are sorry – next year you must choose the best time for you!  So many people running here told us how much they loved the idea of running ‘with you’ all – us here in Sheffield and you all in Palestine.  Thank you SO much.

As you probably know our local Member of Parliament, Louise Haigh and our Lord Mayor of Sheffield talked about your runs at our event – we hope you had copies of the Certificate from the Lord Mayor issued for the runners in Palestine, as well as in Sheffield – we can email another copy if you didn’t received it already. 

We will continue to campaign and spread the word about the importance of justice, peace and equality for all Palestinians, and will continue to raise funds for the projects for the play and the healing project for children and for education scholarships for women in Gaza. With all our respect, friendship and solidarity,

Sheffield to Palestine: Together We Run for Justice and Dignity

run for freedom

While we are running round our park in Meersbrook, there will also be people running in Palestine: in Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem and in Gaza.
The isolation they are subjected to day to day will often make people feel they are forgotten. By running together we are helping Palestinians feel supported .

We are especially pleased to say that a run will take place at “Al-Istiqlal-Independence Park” in Ramallah on Saturday 15 June 2019, from 17:00 to 18:30 pm.

We expect at least 100 people of all ages – mainly from four camps in the middle of the West Bank, Al-Jalazoun, Qalandia, Al Ama’ri and Birziet refugee camps – to take part.

The head of the Executive Office of the Refugees’ Camps in the West Bank will open the event highlighting our solidarity in Sheffield with Palestinian people.

spbr 2019 – breaking down barriers

Last year and in 2017 we had wonderful community based runs and a generous spirit pervading all aspects of the 24 hours. And during these runs we emphasised with really good effect how things we take for granted, like the right to movement and adequate living space, are not enjoyed by most Palestinians because of the siege of Gaza or occupation of the West Bank.

This year we want to extend this further to explore a dominant theme for Palestinians – separation: from home and homeland, from family and loved ones, from participating as a free person in civic life.

This year we would like to try to decrease this separation and consequent isolation all be it in a small way. This year we especially want to have an inclusive run. This means including all of our community locally as well as reaching to Palestinians 00s of miles away.

So we will be making contact with local groups not involved before and we want to encourage disabled people to take part too. We will be setting aside a couple of time slots where we will make a particular effort to ensure you have the support you need; and, if we can, we will help at other times too.

If you are disabled, we will work with you to see how we can help. Please get in touch

And we will be encouraging runners to reach out and ‘buddy up’ with runners in Nablus and Bethlehem, as well as our long term partners in Khan Younis in Gaza, where there will be simultaneous runs.

In addition we have plans for a climbing wall and an imitation checkpoint to give a flavour of the life Palestinians lead every day.

And of course there will be more poetry, a photo exhibition, lanterns at dusk and lots of music.

Sign up and take part !

Why run?

Why do we run?
to see a new view over the brow of the hill
to see inside ourselves, smell the wild air
know the trees and feel the space, the air holding us
for the joy at the end.
The people in Gaza have been running uphill for a long, long time

we need space
to run
to be
to think
to breathe
to collect ourselves
to hide
time runs as the people in Gaza strain for return

as a child I loved to make dens in the countryside with hay bales
or in the woods
as a child I loved to be a dog
as a child I loved to race my brothers
as a child I loved to read on my own
as a child I loved to wander free with friends
the children of Gaza have lost the right to wander

we protest
because we have to
because there is no choice
ideas will not be bound
2335 miles from Sheffield to Palestine
our thoughts cross in a second

we protest to protect children
to speak the truth, for freedom
to make a change
we run to support the people of Gaza

we run in this moment with the people of Palestine
action brings hope, hope creates change
voices together
we cheer for the runners
we cheer for freedom
we cheer til we’re hoarse

we cheer for the people of Gaza

Louise Haigh MP: An honorable friend of Palestine

“It’s easy to be cynical about trying to change the world, but if I can take part, have fun and help promote and raise funds for such a good cause then it’s worth tiring myself out.”

Louise Haigh has very kindly agreed to open this year’s small park BIG RUN. She will also run the first half hour time slot – no mean feat for a super busy Member of Parliament.  We asked her about her views on justice for Palestinians and what her thoughts are on the upcoming run – read what she said below.

Louise Haigh (left) at 2017 small park big run

What is the single most important thing that needs to be done to achieve justice in Palestine?

I was in Palestine in February this year and just a couple of weeks ago I secured a debate in Parliament on the humanitarian situation in Gaza.  I don’t think anyone could say that there is one, single thing that will bring justice to the Palestinian people so in no particular order I think recognition, arms control and properly recognising trade with the illegal settlements as illegal are steps we can immediately take to set us on the road to justice but only a sovereign Palestinian state, I believe, will see justice delivered.

Why are you running?

Supporting the ambitions and life chances of young women and girls who are living in unimaginably tough circumstances is really important to me. We have so many freedoms and opportunities in this country compared to young people growing up in Palestine, and events like this can be a great way to help make life easier for those who don’t.

It’s easy to be cynical about trying to change the world but if I can take part, have fun and help promote and raise funds for such a good cause then it’s worth tiring myself out.

How did you enjoy the event last year and why?

Last year’s run took place right after the General Election – so by comparison it was fairly relaxing. The turnout and enthusiasm of the people there was really encouraging and I’m hoping the weather this summer can coax even more people out for the occasion.

How many laps will you do this time?

I can’t remember how many I did last year, it was only a couple of days after the most exhausting election campaign I’ve ever known so I walked around it pretty leisurely with Julie Pearn and chatted the whole way round. I’ll say four and hope I can bust expectations.

Who will run the fastest lap, you or Magid Magid?

I’ll do my best but I’d imagine it’ll be Magid – I’ve recently taken up boxing and football again so I’m built for strength rather than than speed!

Thanks Louise!

The big idea! Can you help?

As you will know the really big idea is Justice for Palestinians

The big idea for the small park BIG RUN is about community. How can we best link with the community in Gaza, how can we link with the communities across Sheffield; can we run for 24 hours together – keeping at least two people on the course at all times.

The effect of this for people in Gaza is beyond what we might expect. 

Any caring contact has a dramatic impact on moral and their spirit and their resilience. So, for a single day, one 24 hour period we are holding hands with them and recalling what it is to be in Gaza.

Listed below are when no one is down to run. Can you help?

  • Saturday 12:30
  • Saturday 13:00
  • Saturday 13:30
  • Saturday 14:00
  • Saturday 14:30
  • Saturday 17:30
  • Saturday 18:30
  • Saturday 22:00
  • Saturday 23:00
  • Saturday 23:30
  • Sunday 0:00
  • Sunday 0:30
  • Sunday 1:00
  • Sunday 1:30
  • Sunday 2:00
  • Sunday 2:30
  • Sunday 6:30
  • Sunday 7:30
  • Sunday 9:00
  • Sunday 9:30

Either log back into eventbrite and set your running times or email us, let us know when you would like to run and we will set that up

Gaza tragedy: appeal for urgent assistance

Carrying a body back from the Great March of Return May 15th 2018

We are sure you will have heard about the horrendous, ongoing tragedy in Gaza where to date 61 unarmed protesters have been killed and another 2,771 injured by the hugely disproportionate aggression of the Israeli army – 1,360 of those injuries were from live ammunition.

These events affect those very same people the small park BIG RUN aims to help. No-one will have been left untouched and unharmed physically or mentally by this atrocity. The trauma centre we are supporting will at least provide respite and solace to some of those affected.
As if what happened isn’t bad enough, the resource-starved Palestinian health service is struggling to cope.

But you can help. Medical Aid for Palestine has reported there is an urgent need for blood and medical supplies to help the wounded.  If you wish you can donate, however small an amount, to the emergency appeal here.

Hopefully you will be joining us on June 16/17 to hold hands with and extend love, sympathy and solidarity to our brothers and sisters in Palestine. Last year’s live broadcast link up with the Gazan children’s centres we support was a hugely emotional affair. Following the current events, this link up will be even more poignant this year.
In solidarity and love,
The organisers of small park BIG RUN