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Third Jerusalem Marathon to draw larger int’l crowd

February 5, 2013 05:06

Seventeen thousand runners set to descend on capital in an event that is expected to pump NIS 10 million into the local economy.

Runners in Jerusalem Marathon pass Old City

Runners in Jerusalem Marathon pass Old City 370. (photo credit:Marc Israel Sellem)

Seventeen thousand runners will descend on Jerusalem in three weeks for the third annual Jerusalem Marathon, an event that is expected to pump NIS 10 million into the local economy.

Mayor Nir Barkat kicked off the countdown to the marathon on Monday by stressing the race’s impact in bringing worldwide recognition in the sports world to the capital.

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“The marathon has breathtaking views, clear air, a challenging route, and last year we even had some hail on the way,” said Barkat, noting the race was ranked by the British Women’s Running Magazine as one of the top 10 spring races around the world.

City Councilor Elisha Peleg, who holds the sports portfolio, celebrated the race’s ability to promote healthy activity. But Barkat placed the emphasis on the draw for international runners. There are 1,600 runners coming from 52 countries around the world, including Brazil, Croatia, Argentina, Jordan and Turkey. This is an increase from the first marathon, which attracted less than 1,000 international runners.

Additionally, 35 professional runners from elite running teams will race, in addition to 3,500 soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces. The mayor also highlighted the 5,500 runners who are participating in the race in order to raise funds for causes ranging from the special needs community to cancer research to lone soldiers.

In the past, Jerusalem residents not in the marathon have expressed frustration that the race effectively shuts down the entire city on a Friday, the busiest shopping day of the week. However, Uri Menachem, the director of the municipality’s sports division, said most roads in the capital will be open by 1:30 pm. He also said that the Jerusalem Marathon holds the country’s largest pasta dinner, with 3,500 people expected for the pre-race tradition at the Jerusalem International Convention Center the night before the event.
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