Friends of the Earth Middle East “FoEME” in collaboration with Experience Jordan concluded its 2nd Jordan Valley Triathlon & Duathlon titled “Swim, Cycle, Run to Help Save the Jordan River” on the 29th of March, 2014 at the Sharhabil Bin Hassneh Ecopark.
The race aimed at raising awareness to the current status of the Lower Jordan River. The Jordan River and its ecological system is degraded due to excessive diversion and pollution. Studies revealed that the diversion of 96 per cent of its fresh water, in addition to discharge of large quantities of untreated sewage, threaten to irreversibly damage the Rivers ecological system.
To this end, participants were briefed about the River and its symbolic value as it is considered holy in three Abrahamic religions. Its current degradation is reflective of the competition between bordering countries over its waters that must be replaced by cooperation for its rehabilitation.
Mr. Othman Twalbeh, Sharhabil Bin Hassneh Ecopark manager, explained that “the park serves as an educational hub”. The park itself is reflective of Jordan’s long history of inclusiveness and acceptance to all cultures and people of good will that gather for peace.
The race commenced at 10:30 am and combined open-water swimming at the Ziglab dam, on and off-road cycling and cross-country running and concluded at 2:00 pm. Mr. Matt Loveland Director of Experience Jordan explained that the race was designed to appeal to both novice competitors and serious athletes. A shorter Novice distance and a longer Sprint distance. “For the longer Sprint course, we also have a team category, for teams of 3 for the Triathlon and teams of 2 or 3 for the Duathlon. For the Triathlon each member completes one of the sections of the race, i.e. the first swims, the second team member cycles and the third team member finishes with the run section. The Duathlon team category can be made up of two or three racers with each person doing a discipline before handing over to the next team member (i.e. in a 3 person team one person runs, one cycles, and another runs or in a 2 person team the runner may do both run legs or the bike\run).” He added.
At the end of the race, Mr. Matt Loveland distributed medals to all competitors in recognition of their hard work. In this regard, he affirmed that “finishing an adventure triathlon is an achievement in itself”. In addition, FoEME distributed honoring shields to recognize the efforts of all those who contributed to making this event a success.
This post is contributed by Samar M. Salma, FoEMEs Media Officer/PR & Projects Coordinator/ Amman Office.
Photographs: Khatef Alkolob 2