Driffield News

Couple spread some Yorkshire happiness in the Middle East

There are no half measures where Driffield Striders members Tanya and Colin Harber Stuart are concerned.

The intrepid duo combined a winter holiday to Palestine and Israel with running two memorable half-marathons in Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

“I know most people go on holiday for a rest, but as members of Driffield Striders we had to do some running while we were away,” said Tanya.

The couple’s ‘holiday’ had originally been scheduled for March 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced a postponement until this year.

Travelling between Palestine and Israel, while complying with all the security regulations, took a lot of planning.

“Ashley Adams travel agents did a brilliant job for us and put together a phenomenal 23-day adventure,” added Tanya.

Their first half-marathon in Bethlehem, described by Tanya as ‘stunning’, started near the Church of the Nativity.

“Ninety countries were represented and the atmosphere was electric,” said Tanya.

“There was an incredibly motivational warm-up before we started and then we ran past Israeli checkpoints along the wall which separates the Palestinians from the Israelis, a Banksy artwork and then through two refugee camps.

“The support from local Palestinians was incredible. I have never before during a race stopped to take videos of the supporters.

“They were singing and dancing and the local children ran some way with us. My Striders top drew many comments, particularly from the large number of people from Yorkshire who were running.

“The mantra became spread a little Yorkshire happiness.”

Tanya and Colin, who live in Driffield, completed the race in 2hrs 14mins and a week later were lining up in Jerusalem for the undulating course comprising one of the world’s toughest half-marathons.

Despite this, they were delighted to finish inside their 2hr 30min target time.

“We had the opportunity to run through a traffic-free Jerusalem, including the old city and Jaffa Gate,” said Tanya.

“The views from the top of the hill were incredible, especially of the Dome of the Rock, the old city and the walls.”

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