The Jerusalem Marathon passed through our city streets this last weekend on Friday March 25, 2011 (a brisk and cool morning, perfect running weather) and attracted upwards of 10,000 runners from near and far. It was definitely an interesting running track, with the course passing through the ancient sites of Jerusalem, from the government buildings to the Old City and all the way up to Mount Scopus where the Hebrew University of Jerusalem sits. The marathon also took place just days after a fatal bombing befell the city at a site very close to the starting line. The mayor, Nir Barkat, expressed his interest that the marathon continue as planned in an attempt to move forward from the attack. So, all throughout the marathon's 44 km, there were observation units, special patrols, extra security and police deployed helicopters in order to ensure the runners' safety. Not exactly your typical marathon, to say the least, but unique and original for certain!
Here are the runners ready to go at the starting line...
(see Mayor Nir Barkat below, #2000)
A little bit of a bird's eye view from the starting point just oustide of Gan Sacher Park in central Jerusalem:
And now they're off.....! The Kenyans in the picture below (right) were at the head of the pack throughout the entire run and one of them, Raymond Kipkoechh, 34, would go on to win the race at 2:26:44, very impressive if I might say so myself!
And here is Mayor Barkat and some others runners in the middle of the race, running throughout some of Jerusalem's holy sites (passing by the Old City, below):
Hours later, here they are at the finish line (for the half marathon)! Mayor Barkat and his accompanying runners completed the half marathon well under two hours. Only about 1,100 runners did the entire 44 km (26.2 marathon).
Curious to see the rest of the marathon runners who were attempting the full battle, we perched ourselves outside an open coffee shop to catch a glimpse of the stellar athletes. Of course, the Kenyans were still at the head of the pack, coming through far before anyone else:
I've always looked up to marathon runners for the amazing feat they are able to complete. I prefer, however, to watch from the sidelines or to stick with something simple, i.e. a 10K! The countdown is on now for Jerusalem's next annual marathon: March 16, 2012, so mark it on your calendars, and if you're interested in running the race, it's a good excuse to get out here and to be our guest!
|Runners mid-stride in the Jerusalem marathon|
|Jerusalem from the Mount Scopus leg of the marathon|
|Beautiful views of Jerusalem throughout the running track|