Scenes From Jerusalem Half Marathon and Marathon

Jerusalem Half Marathon

The Jerusalem Half Marathon. (Photo: Flash 90)

Holy hills! The Jerusalem Half Marathon is now behind me and 15,550 other runners who tackled 10K, half and marathon races at the Jerusalem Marathon. I ran the race as part of a press trip sponsored by the Israeli Ministry of Tourism in cooperation with El Al Airlines. About 4,680 runners took on the half-marathon with me, mostly men. The event as a whole is 71 percent male. The women’s running boom hasn’t quite happened in Israel yet, it seems.

It was spectacularly scenic and easily the most difficult course I’ve ever run. Ever. No seriously, I mean it. Every runner I talked to agreed, including folks who have run 20-50 road marathons around the world. There are probably courses that are as difficult. But it’s hard to imagine a tougher one far as city marathons and half-marathons go. This was a road race with a trail profile. Between the hills—never ending climbs up never ending hills followed by quad-crushing descents—and the turns—more than 40 of them over 13.1 miles—this is not a course to run a personal best. The marathon is no different.

But the scenery makes up for it. At the tops of those hills are views of the Old City, the new city and Jordan in the distance. Around those turns are historic sites, charming neighborhoods and, sometimes, more hills.

So I sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed the ride…or at least the running equivalent. I haven’t even looked up my official time because I really don’t care. I ran with a GoPro camera, stopped and shot video, took pictures and just enjoyed the gorgeous course. My good friend, triathlon partner in crime, and Canadian journalist Tania, was there with me. One look at the photos, and you’ll see why we’re friends.

So here’s a sneak peak at the event. My full race report—with the nitty gritty details on the race, organization, course, and my experience of it all—is still to come when I get home from the trip!

Jerusalem Half Marathon Preview

Karla Bruning


Karla Bruning is a race announcer at the TCS New York City Marathon + other major events, TV host for the New York City Triathlon + contributor to Shape, Redbook, Runner's World + other publications. She used to report for Newsweek but spent her free time squeezing in workouts. Now it's her job. She's run 8 marathons, 30 halves, 10 triathlons + open water swims. When she's not running, talking about running or writing about running, she's snuggling her baby, spoiling her dog + compulsively traveling.


03 2014

33 Comments Add Yours ↓

The upper is the most recent comment

  1. 1

    Looks like you had a great race! Looking forward to reading about the nitty gritty details 😀
    Jojo @ RunFastEatLots recently posted..A Fresh Start on the First Day of SpringMy Profile

  2. 3

    I hadn’t even thought about Jerusalem being on hills. Can’t wait to read the recap.
    Lesley recently posted..A “Frozen” DayMy Profile

  3. 5

    WOW, I love all the pictures!! I bet this was such an awesome race. I can’t wait to hear all about how you tackled the hills and came out victorious!
    Kristina @ Blog About Running recently posted..Boy Meets World, DIY Projects for the Weekend & 10 MilesMy Profile

  4. 7

    Fantastic photos!! Looks like you had a great time!

  5. 9

    I’m really looking forward to reading more about this race. I would really want to run a race internationally!
    Ashley @ Snow Cream and Syrup recently posted..Skiing Killington on a Gorgeous DayMy Profile

  6. 11

    How cool! Looking forward to hearing more about this race!

  7. 13

    Amazing!! I can’t wait for all the details – the pictures look amazing!! Glad you were able to enjoy the difficult course.
    Emily recently posted..Weekly Training ReviewMy Profile

  8. 15

    Looks absolutely stunning! I can’t wait for the recap! :)

  9. 17

    Looks incredible, such an experience! So excited for you that you were able to do this!!
    Laura @losingrace recently posted..Boston Training: Still on the Roller CoasterMy Profile

  10. 19

    Good sneak peak. The scenery looks amazing. I like the dual ‘Toyota jump’ photo! Looking forward to your detailed report.
    Ewen recently posted..Great racing!My Profile

  11. 21

    Wow, this is exactly why I want to run an international race somewhere! I know there are many scenic races in the US, but you’re not going to get anything quite like this or a race in Europe somewhere! Looks like such an amazing experience!

    • Karla Bruning

      Exactly. Lots of gorgeous scenery in the U.S. But I love traveling to places that put me out of my comfort zone a bit, that surprise me and bring history to life. Jerusalem definitely fit the bill.
      Karla Bruning recently posted..Run Disney’s Avengers Half Marathon For CharityMy Profile

  12. 23

    Wow, what a cool experience to have! Looks amazing!
    Scott recently posted..Back on Track (literally)My Profile

  13. Pam #

    Wow….what an adventure. Overseas races provide such a new and different experience. It must have been strange with a field of runners skewed so heavily with males. The scenery looks breathtaking and what a way to soak up a city with a half marathon. Look forward to more of your posts on Jerusalem!
    Pam recently posted..Friday Five: Core Values of the Running CommunityMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      I purposefully looked up the male-female ratio because I felt so outnumbered on the course. And many of the women running had heads and legs covered, wearing tights with skirts over them. It was really different to run a race in a place where many people are much more religiously conservative than in the U.S. I certainly wasn’t the only woman in shorts, but there were just as many NOT in shorts and it was a HOT day!
      Karla Bruning recently posted..Run Disney’s Avengers Half Marathon For CharityMy Profile

  14. Joey #

    Holy Hills is right! What a place for my first half!

  15. 29

    Lovely photos. Glad you had a good time.
    Elle recently posted..Interview with Paddy Runs for BostonMy Profile

  16. 30

    I ran the Jerusalem half marathon, too, and I’ve been waiting for your final report. Are you ever going to post it?

    • Karla Bruning

      Thanks for your patience, Avital! Yes, I’ll have it up in June. I ended up filming the course as I ran and it has taking me longer than anticipated to put the video together, since video editing is new for me!
      Karla Bruning recently posted..How To Run Faster? Run With The Fast CrowdMy Profile


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