Jerusalem marks its largest-ever marathon

  • TOIJerusalemMarathonB
More than 35 000 runners, including 4 000 from 72 different countries, partook in the Jerusalem Marathon on Friday morning. It marked the largest-ever number of runners signing up for the annual event.

The winner was announced shortly after 09:30: Kipkogey Shadrack, 27, from Kenya. Shadrack, the reigning champion, finished the race in 2:21.26. The second and third slots also went to African runners: Wendwesen Tilahun Damte from Ethiopia and Ronald Kimeli Kurgat from Kenya.

Emily Chepkemoi Samoei took her second straight win among the women. Samoei led a sweep of the top three spots by Kenyan women with a time of 2:52:33, followed by Mercy Jelimo and Naomi Jepngetich.

The half-marathon race kicked off at 06:45, followed by the full marathon at 07:00. The 10km race began at 09:30.

The guest of honour at the marathon was Olympic medallist and long-distance running world champion Haile Gebrselassie from Ethiopia. Gebrselassie holds two Olympic gold medals in the 10 000 metres and four world titles for the same distance, and he was the first in the world to break the 2:04 time for the marathon run.

International runners came from 72 countries, including China, the US, Germany, Poland, Portugal and Lithuania. Hong Kong sent the greatest number of runners from outside Israel, followed by Los Angeles, Beijing and London.

The route started next to the Knesset and took the runners past the Mahane Yehuda market, Mount Scopus, the Old City, David’s Tower and the Haas Promenade.

This year, the municipality connected marathon participants from abroad and throughout Israel by launching the “guest runner” project, wherein Jerusalemites host tourist runners in their homes.

But, perhaps befitting an event that marks 50 years since the reunification of the city, the vast majority of runners in the full, 42.2km marathon are Jerusalemites, the Jerusalem municipality said.

They were followed by runners from Haifa and then by runners from Modiin, Tel Aviv and Kfar Saba.

Many Jerusalem streets were closed from 05:30 and scheduled to reopen at 14:30, as runners participated in one of six courses: the full or half marathons; a 10km race; a 5km race; a family race (1.7km); and a community race (800m) for people with special needs.

The average age of runners running the full course was 43, while the average age of those running the 10km was 32. There were slightly more male runners than women, at 57% to 43%, the city said.


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