More than 17,000 women of all ages have responded to the call of two-time World 400m Hurdles champion Nezha Bidouane who has instigated Moroccan women to take part in the first ever Rabat Women's Race, organised under the patronage of His Royal Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco.
In the joyous atmosphere created around the starting line on the magnificent Boulevard de la Victoire (Victory Boulevard) in Rabat, young girls and women gathered for what is far more important than just a road race, it was a superb promotion for women in Morocco and their emancipation.
Aged between 12 and 87, participants ran through the main streets of Morocco's capital city on a course that stretched 8.5 kilometres.
The race was attended by numerous sports and politics personalities including the Presidents of the Moroccan Olympic Committee and the Moroccan Royal Athletics Federation.
"The aim of this race was to reach out to all the women and the younger girls and pass along the message of the benefits of sporting activity in general and athletics in particular," said Bidouane, who was extremely proud of the turn-out of this first initiative.
Bidouane is keen to promote the importance of physical exercise for women, a position which stands along the National initiative of Human Development launched in 2005 by King Mohammed VI.
After Casablanca where the women's race "courir pour le plaisir" was launched by Olympic 400m Hurdles champion Nawal El Moutawakel who is President of the Moroccan Association for Sport and Development, now Rabat also has its own women's race thanks to Bidouane and the Women, Accomplishments and Values Associations which she presides over.
At the end of the race, awards were presented to winners in the categories of school girls and women over 40. A special prize was awarded to the eldest woman in the race (87).
Mohammed Benchrif for the IAAF