Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism Project

Late US runner’s race gives young girls chance to run towards success

5 May 2018

Seeing the 80 young girls supporting each other outside of the bus that brought them from various parts of Jordan to take part in a race honouring his late daughter Nina Breklemans was “the most powerful tribute to her legacy”, Nico Breklemans said on Saturday. 

Him and his wife Gail came from the United States to attend the capstone race of the five week running Camp for Girls conducted at Al Hussein Park to honour the memory of Nina Breklemans, a passionate American runner and Arabic scholar who passed away in 2015.

“Nina absolutely loved the Arab world and its language. She studied Arabic for years before moving to Egypt and Jordan for her studies,” Nina’s childhood friend and president of the Nina Breklemans Foundation, Mary Grace Pellegrini, told The Jordan Times at the end of the 1.5km race.

“During her time here, she won several running championships including the Dead Sea Ultra Marathon in 2014, and got involved in the running community, where she made a lot of close friends. She also volunteered with Reclaim Childhood, seeking to improve the lives of refugees and young women through sports,” Pellegrini continued, noting that “this is what pushed Nina to apply for a Fulbright fellowship to research the experience of female distance runners in Jordan”. 

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