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While in some parts of the world, November 11 is a recognized holiday to mark the end of WW1, the most deadly war in modern history. And now the day has taken on remembrance for all who have fought to protect freedoms. In the US it is called Veterans Day, in Canada Remembrance Day.

Currently, there are battles being waged with civil war in Ethiopia, Russia is attacking Ukraine and Syria has its own internal battles with various groups like ISIL, for example. It’s all war. Damascus is considered the least liveable city in the world.

Regardless, today, the Damascus Marathon took place. It’s the first-ever marathon in the Syrian city. Views of war paraphernalia can be seen and fencing and barbed wire are up throughout the route.

There were participants from 15 countries.

The marathon was organized by the Syrian Olympic Committee in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism.

The race set off in front of Dama Rose Hotel and apparently was measured accurately for the distance of 42.195 kilometres.

The Syrian runner Samer al-Samir won the race in 3:11. Swiss Alexander Shires took second in the time of 3:22 — 11 minutes behind, on this 11th day of the 11th month — how poetic. Polish runner Piotr Bojka clocked a 3:29 finish time. American runner Sarah Paul won the women’s category recording a time of 4:30.

Athletes from the United States, Canada, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Finland, Spain, the Czech Republic, Great Britain, Hungary, France, Germany, Slovakia, and Ireland, as well as Syria, participated in the event.

Damascus, the City of Jasmine as it is known locally is off and on again considered the holy centre of Islam. It is one of the oldest cities in the world. Carbon dating indicates that the city was inhabitied in the seventh millennium BC, possibly around 6300 BC.