Today was the Jerusalem Marathon – 20,000 runners strong!
I ran the half marathon, and on Wednesday night, Noah and I went to the race expo at the Jerusalem Convention Center to pick up my race packet:
Picking up my race packet was a breeze…
…and then we explored the rest of the expo! There was a nice collection of running and health vendors set up:
We had a good time walking around and looking at all the merchandise/race excitement:
Of course, no running event is fully complete without some beer (Alexander Beer had a stand here):
It was also fun to see the particular quirks of a Jerusalem marathon, such as this technical running tee with built-in tzitzit being sold at the event shop:
And since we were in the neighborhood, how could we resist a trip to Cinema City?!?! (the Convention Center is next door to the Cinema City). We saw the movie Selma which was FABULOUS and I highly recommend it to everyone. Also, Cinema City has a new indoor ice rink…pretty cool, huh?
Today, the morning started bright and early as I headed to the start line at Gan Sacher at about 6:05am (the start time for the half marathon was 6:45):
A ton of roads around the city were closed for the marathon, making transportation a nightmare (Noah and I stayed at a friend’s house because it would have been hard to get to the race start from our southern neighborhood). The closed roads did, however, make walking to the race start traffic-free:
Pre-race photo with my running buddy, Dan:
Waiting at the start line:
After a few brief safety announcements, we were off! The course was amazing: through the Old City, by the Sultan’s Pool, along Yafo Street, Emek Refaim, the rekevet, the tayelet, and more (full race course map here). Noah, my number one race fan, saw me at four points along the route and then met me at the finish line! (thanks, Noah!!!)
While the course was beautiful and – as is the race’s tagline – through 3,000 years of history, the downside was the hills. Oh, the hills! Jerusalem is a hilly city, and this race course definitely made that fact well known. As a result of the hills, this was a tough race, and I seriously struggled at times. The worst was a steep uphill towards the very end of the race throughout almost all of kilometers 18 and 19 (the total race distance is 21.1 kilometers). Nonetheless, I MADE IT!
The finish area in Gan Sacher was buzzing with people and various race service tents (such as this synagogue tent – oh, Jerusalem!):
There was also a fitness area with a group fitness instruction and various types of equipment:
After about 30 minutes milling around the finish area, we managed to find a taxi home without too much trouble. I quickly took a shower and then it was time for a delicious recovery brunch at Kalo:
Yes, please. 🙂