THREE runners from Woking have taken part in the Palestine Marathon in the West Bank and raised more than £7,500 for humanitarian aid.

Daud and Anjum Afzal collected more than £6,000 for Penny Appeal, a charity that helps Muslim communities around the world.

Daud started the Shah Jahan Running Community at the mosque and leads the men’s group. He and Anjum were joined at the marathon by Skina Nazir, who leads the mosque women’s running group.

Skina went to the West Bank with the Amos Trust and raised about £1,500 for the charity. She took part in some of their projects, planting trees, visiting refugee camps and repairing homes damaged by the Israeli military.

Skina said she applied to enter only three months before the race and a lack of long-distance training meant she took 5 hours.

The marathon was also Anjum’s first and she finished in 4hrs 35min, having trained with her husband for six months.

“It’s known as a technical marathon, which, thank goodness, I didn’t look up the meaning of because it meant it’s incredibly hilly,” she said.

Anjum, who is an optician, said she had never run farther than 20 miles during her training and doubted she could complete the 26 mile distance.

“But being there is so interesting and emotional that you carry through,” she said.

“You go past the wall [of the West Bank barrier], watchtowers and refugee camps.

“People were really happy; there was a party atmosphere.”

Daud said he cried when he saw the wall.

He finished in 4hrs 6min, beating his first marathon in Manchester two years ago that inspired him to start the mosque running group.

He said the rough terrain and high temperatures in the West Bank made the race tough.

He said the slogan of the marathon is “freedom of movement” because of travel restrictions on the Palestinians.

“With every footstep you are taking you are thinking about all of the struggles the Palestinian people are having to go through on a daily basis,” he said.

Daud and Anjum went to an aid distribution centre where they helped to hand out food and other supplies to refugees, paid for by the Penny Appeal.

The couple said they felt the tension in Bethlehem, where the race started and finished and their group encountered problems on arrival at Tel Aviv airport.

“More than 50 from our group of 90 were made to wait for three or four hours while they did extra checks,” Anjum said.

She said a similar number found their luggage had not been loaded onto the plane when they arrived back to London and had to wait three days for their bags to be delivered.

Daud said the bags had clearly been opened and some of the belongings, including souvenirs, were broken.

They said their two children, aged six and eight, were cared for by family members during the six-day trip and understood the importance of it.

“The Palestinians told us that their cause is not making headlines because of the war in Ukraine and it’s been going on for so long that many people are bored with it,” Anjum said.

“They feel forgotten and want people to visit to see what is happening.”