Tel Aviv Marathon.
Marathon starting lines are scenes crackling with excitement. It is not the visually arresting or raucous kind of excitement such as precedes an El Clasico match or an NBA Finals Game 7. It is of a much more restrained, solemn, personal nature. It is excitement mixed with anxiety, hope mixed with uncertainty – the kind of compressed range of emotions evocative of what military special forces describe before setting out on a dangerous mission, or astronauts at T-minus 60 seconds to liftoff. Something momentous is about to commence, and there’s no predicting what reality will look like on the other side.On the morning of Friday, February 24, 40,000 runners will gather in Tel Aviv to take part in the city’s 20th Tel Aviv Marathon. Of these, 1,500 marathoners will compete in the main 42.2-kilometer (26.2-mile) race. The marathoners, young and old, first-timers and seasoned finishers, will descend on the city alone and in groups, from near and far. Some will be competing against the distance itself, their goal to reach the finish line in one piece; others will be competing against the clock, striving to make TLV 2017 their fastest marathon to date; and a select few will be competing against each other, hoping to score a podium finish.