Where to run in Jerusalem

Alright folks, tomorrow is…

THE JERUSALEM MARATHON!

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I’m only running the half (13.1 miles or as these Israelis like to say, 21.1 kilometers), but I am pretty excited! I’ve been training for the last 12 weeks, and during that time I’ve gotten very familiar with the running options around Jerusalem. So, for anyone figuring out where to run in this beautiful metropolis, here are my top suggestions:

1. The rekevet

This was my original running grounds. Before starting to train for a half marathon, I wasn’t running much longer 3-5 mile runs, and the main rekevet route is perfect for this distance. The ‘rekevet’ refers to a tracks-to-trails path (ie, former train track, now a pedestrian and bike path). The north end of the rekevet starts near the Tahana Rishona where Emek Refaim and Derech Beit Lechem meet.

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From the Tahana, you have about a 1/2 mile of pathway until you get to an intersection with Derech Beit Lechem. From there, the rekevet path continues for another 1/2 mile until it reaches an intersection with Pierre Koenig.

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You can cross Pierre Koenig (a fairly large intersection) and have another mile or so of uninterrupted pathway. After about a mile, the path will deposit you onto A-Safa Street within an Arab neighborhood. You can run briefly across the road about 1-minute and then pick the rekevet pathway up AGAIN for another 2 miles or so:

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This part of the path will take you near Teddy Stadium, Malcha Mall, and the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo. If you’re into trail running, you can even keep going onto the dirt path at the end of the paved trail. In my opinion, this rekevet pathway is definitely the best running resource in Jerusalem, and if you have a chance I highly suggest going for a jog on it!

2. Gan Sacher

The next best place I’ve found to run is Gan Sacher. Gan Sacher is Jerusalem’s largest park, and there are lots of interweaving running trails throughout the area:

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The park is located in the western city center – near to the Israel Museum and Knesset building. There are also several workout stations and large fields in Gan Sacher, making it a great place for other types of exercise besides running if that’s not your thing. 🙂

3. The Tayelet

The Jerusalem Tayelet (Promenade) is a gorgeous pathway that you can get to by following Yehuda Street east past Derech Hebron. The Tayelet itself isn’t the greatest in terms of a running pathway because it’s fairly cobblestoned:

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But the views looking out on Jerusalem and the Old City compensate for any less-than-ideal surface conditions:

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The Tayelet pathway looking out over Jerusalem only lasts about a half mile, but it then continues on a paved pathway through a park and snaking around a UN building. That pathway goes another half mile or so (perhaps a bit further) and deposits at a lookout observation point. It’s a bit short on distance to compromise an entire run, but it could be combined with some running on the rekevet for a slightly longer run (they are relatively close to one another). The Tayelet alone would also be an ideal spot for a nice walk (Shabbos walk, anyone??).

And there you have it…my main running suggestions in Jerusalem. Of course, there is also some decent running to be had on the sidewalks along main roads and residential neighborhoods. That said, lights here aren’t the greatest for running and Jerusalem drivers are notoriously nutty, so it can be a bit smoother and more relaxing to run on the aforementioned pathways.

See you on the pavement tomorrow? 😉

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