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!