CARE for Syria: A marathon effort by CARE’s Dead2Red team

By CARE Australia March 24, 2014 0 comments

On 13 March, three years after the beginning of the crisis in Syria, a CARE team of ten runners participated in the famous ‘Dead2Red’ marathon in Jordan. Their goal: to raise awareness and funds for the plight of millions of Syrian refugees.

The CARE team consisted of CARE emergency staff and five Syrian refugees who volunteer in CARE’s urban refugee centres. They proudly finished the 242 kilometres from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea in 22 hours and 23 minutes. Defying sand storms, exhaustion and the dark, they raised US$25,775 for CARE’s emergency work for Syrian refugees.

Meet the incredible team …

Omran, 24, lawyer and Syrian refugee

Omran. (Photo: CARE/Wolfgang Gressmann)
Omran, a 24-year-old Syrian refugee, ran Dead2Red for his mother. ©CARE/Wolfgang Gressmann

‘I looked at the beautiful landscape around me, the mountains, the sea and the desert. Despite all the beauty, horrible memories crossed my mind during the run. I thought about my mother, remembered how she was shot in the head while sitting next to me. My legs became cold for a few seconds and I slowed down for a moment. Sadness overtook me. But I wanted to be stronger and faster than the bullet that took her from me. And I was.’

Omar, 27, college graduate in architecture and Syrian refugee

Omar and his reason to run from the Dead to the Red Sea. ©CARE/Wolfgang Gressmann
Omar and his reason to run from the Dead to the Red Sea. ©CARE/Wolfgang Gressmann

‘It was a very challenging, but wonderful experience. I feel that I found a new family. I learned how much is possible if we care for each other and work as a team. After finishing this race I know that nothing in life is impossible. I hope the next marathon can take place in Syria. I am definitely ready for it!’

Maram, 21, economics student and Syrian refugee

Maram ran Dead2Red for Syrian university students. ©CARE/Wolfgang Gressmann
Maram ran Dead2Red for Syrian university students. ©CARE/Wolfgang Gressmann

‘I thought about all the people who lost their lives. But I also thought about the ones who survived and that I want to run as fast as possible so their lives can be saved. The great support we received from everyone kept me going. I felt like the shadows of thousands of people followed me through the race, ran next to me and protected me from the rain, the wind and the cold.’


Eman Kathib, 34, CARE Jordan and part of the support team during the race

Eman from CARE Jordan was part of the support team during the Dead2Red Marathon. ©CARE

‘At one moment, in the middle of the night, I asked myself: What in the world am I doing here? But then I saw the determination in the eyes of the team members, I heard them talk about why they run. I thought about the people who were killed, those who have lost their family members, their homes. It was as if the souls of the dead surrounded us in the desert.’

Amal, 28, teacher from Yarmouk Camp

Amal, a teacher, ran from the Dead to the Red Sea for Syria. ©CARE/Wolfgang Gressmann

‘There are some things in life that become a very special part of our memories. Destined to never be forgotten, always present in our heart and soul, as real today as the day they actually happened. What a great experience it was to run the Dead2Red marathon! It was so intense, so silent and noisy at the same time. For some reason it is just as easy to cry as it is to smile.’

Saif, 27, CARE Jordan’s psychosocial expert

Saif and his reason to run the Dead2Red marathon. ©CARE/Wolfgang Gressmann
Saif and his reason to run the Dead2Red marathon. ©CARE/Wolfgang Gressmann

‘The race for me was absolutely an epic journey. The most difficult part was to maintain faith in my personal physical abilities and to resist the temptation of choosing the easy way out, to quit and just drive home. But the support the team received from people throughout the world who simply understood why we were doing this despite all the challenges outbalanced everything else.’

Alexandra, 35, Deputy Country Director Program, CARE Lebanon

Alexandra from CARE Lebanon ran for the world's attention. ©CARE/Johanna Mitscherlich
Alexandra from CARE Lebanon ran for the world’s attention. ©CARE/Johanna Mitscherlich

‘Above all, the race has taught me one thing: we should never underestimate ourselves and our ability to challenge our physical and mental limits. Whenever I think something is impossible in the future, I will look at the pictures of this race and remember that we are all capable of achieving great things together.’

Chris Wynn, 29, Senior Program Officer, CARE Australia

Chris Wynn from CARE Australia only joined the Dead2Red team a day before the event after a team member dropped out. ©CARE

‘When dawn was breaking, our team’s spirit changed. We could readily perceive how far we had come and the progress we were making. We sang improvised songs and cheered for each other. Smiles replaced the looks of expressionless exhaustion. In the end, knowing that we have gone the distance for millions of Syrians in need numbed the pain of our sore muscles.’

Johanna Mitscherlich, 28, Regional Emergency Communications Officer

Johanna ran Dead2Red for the Syrian Volunteers. ©CARE/Wolfgang Gressmann

‘Millions of Syrian refugees have been facing new ground and unexpected challenges for months, even years … When I was running through sand and darkness in the desert, I thought about how devastating it must feel to be on a journey without knowing whether you would ever reach the finish line, without knowing what will happen after you reach it. And to realise that the starting point of your journey might not exist anymore if you ever make it back there.’

Donate to CARE’s Syrian Refugee Crisis Appeal

Find out more about the Syrian Refugee Crisis

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