Jerusalem Half Marathon – The Race through 2000 Years of History
An average of 1,700 runners participated in the Jerusalem Half Marathon and the 10 k races, primarily from Israel
People have been running in and through Jerusalem for more than 2000 years, but they have not been running for very long according to the rules of the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) and AIMS (Association of International Marathon and Road Races).
The Jerusalem Half Marathon took place this year for the 13th time. The event originated as a marathon, but due to the Intifada it has been turned into a half marathon and a 10 k race. It is, however, under discussion to make it a marathon once again.
Partnership between Jerusalem and Berlin
Thanks to the efforts of the former Knesset representative Yaacov Gil and the former Berlin LSB (State Sport Association) president Gerhard Schlegel, Jerusalem and Berlin have had a diverse sport exchange programme since 1969. The partnership contract was signed between the LSB Berlin and the Jerusalem city council, Department of Sport and International Relations.
In light of the historical background, through regular sport-related contact, athletes and youth from both cities were to have the opportunity to get to know and better understand one another
Invitation to the real,- BERLIN-MARATHON
Upon invitation of the Jerusalem city council, the long-time former race director of the BERLIN-MARATHON, Horst Milde, attended the race this March in Jerusalem, together with the sports editor from the radio station Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB), Ina Czycykowski.
An average of 1,700 runners participated in the Jerusalem Half Marathon and the 10 k races, primarily from Israel. There is a long history of a running culture in Israel; the Tiberias Marathon at Genezareth Lake – taking place in early January – has long been a member of AIMS, while the race at the Dead Sea (the lowest spot in the world) by Kibbutz En Gedi is just as well known.
The organisers in Jerusalem are interested in opening up their half marathon for greater international participation, and in making running more popular in Israel, as well.
2000 Years of History
Jerusalem is a top address for running tourists. 2000 years of history are waiting to be taken in: The Mount of Olives with the Gethsemane Garden, the old city centre, the Temple Mount with the Dome of the Rock, the El-Aqsa Mosque, the Western Wall – “the Wailing Wall“, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Via Dolorosa, the Israel Museum, Yad Vashem ... and the list goes on. One must take time to take a look at and come to terms with this history.
It goes not without saying that the small Berlin delegation received an invitation from the Ministry for Tourism. Running is international and Yehuda Stern, the director of the ministry is naturally interested in tourists, runners included, who are once again starting to visit Israel in larger numbers.
The start and finish for the 13th Jerusalem Half Marathon is the Givaat Stadium of “Hebrew University“. Yigal Amedi, the “Acting Mayor of Jerusalem“ started the half marathon at 9 a.m., while Horst Milde, who then ran himself, sent off the 10 k race.
Hilly and full of sights
The temperatures at the starts were about 26° C, the courses were hilly and filled with tourist sights—the Knesset, the Israel Museum with the Shrine of the Book, and numerous government buildings. The races led through a large, well closed off park. Both the 10 k and half marathon courses were marked well on the asphalt.
Numerous friendly volunteers with lots of water at the refreshment points every 2 kilometres, as well as a light breeze helped to make the heat bearable.
At the finish in the stadium, the runners received a commemorative medal, fruit, isotonic drinks...and ice cream.
Fast times and many trophies
Considering the heat and the difficult course, the winning times were pretty fast. The director of the Jerusalem City Council, Dr. Vladimir Shklar, assisted by Horst Milde, handed out numerous trophies at the awards ceremonies.
Together with 1,753 participants from numerous countries, Uri Menachem, the race director, and Miri Fiengold from the sports administration, celebrated the successful event, which was only marred by some anger from drivers who were stuck in traffic to allow the runners to pass.
It is worth mentioning that every participant received a t-shirt with his race number in the starter kit. In addition, there was a pasta party and national cuisine at a reception in a large hotel.
Running and History
The 14th Jerusalem Half Marathon (with a10 km race) will take place in March 2006. Runners interested in finding out more about and understanding the thousand years history should mark this date in their 2006 calendars with the heading “Running, History and Culture“—there is lots of all in Jerusalem and Israel.
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