At least 25,000 people hit the pavement for the highly-promoted 2012 Gillette Tel Aviv Marathon Friday morning, which sent racers speeding down seven different tracks winding throughout the White City. Kenyan runner Sammy Too finished the 42.195 km race first, with a local record time of 2:15:15. He won a prize of $10,000 for breaking the previous record.The race began in the early hours of the morning, with Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai greeting runners at the starting line. "Good morning Tel Aviv!" he cheered, "This morning marks the largest marathon Israel has ever seen!""Some 17,00 runners are participating in the full marathon, and at least 25,000 people are taking part in all seven tracks," he added.Touting the race's international draw, the mayor happily announced that citizens of at least 43 different countries took part in Friday's competitive race. "We made sure you got great weather," he called out to the runners, "All that's left is to jump-start the race!"The runners were forced to contend with daylight savings time, which came the night before and left runners with one less hour of sleep ahead of the marathon.The day’s events also included a half marathon, a 10km. urban run, an inline skating marathon and a 30km. hand cycle race for people with special needs. Magen David Adom paramedics opted out of running the race, choosing instead to race through the stream of runners on Segways and bicycles. Their presence was much needed, however, as medical staff treated around 100 people throughout the course of the race, mostly for dehydration, fainting or injuries related to running. Magen David Adom paramedics treated most people on site, or in the race's paramedics tent. Around 10 participants required extra care and were taken to local hospitals for treatment.
TA Mayor Ron Huldai at marathon starting line (Photograph: Courtesy Filizer Communications)
Participants gear up at the starting line (Photograph: Elana Kirsh)
Runners snake through the White City (Photograph: Elana Kirsh)
TA Marathon champion Sammy Too (L) (Photograph: Courtesy Filizer Communications)