First Jerusalem marathon to be held in 2011

First Jerusalem marathon

barkat jogging 248.88 (photo credit: )
barkat jogging 248.88
(photo credit: )
It looks like Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat may be able to run his next marathon a little closer to home. Barkat, who on Sunday completed the New York Marathon in a time of 4:42:26, is leading an initiative to bring a marathon to Jerusalem. On Monday the city's municipality announced plans to hold an international marathon in Jerusalem in 2011. Though Jerusalem has held an annual half-marathon for several years, this will be the first time that a full 42km race will be held in the capital. Jerusalem will be joining cities such as Berlin, Paris, New York, Chicago and of course Tiberias in holding such a race. The Jerusalem Marathon will be one of three in the country. The Tel Aviv Marathon returned in April of this year after a 15-year hiatus in order to celebrate the city's centennial, but organizers were so pleased with the event's success that they are considering making it an annual event. The 33rd Tiberias Marathon, meanwhile, will be held in January 2010. Jerusalem's historical sites - not to mention its hills - will undoubtedly provide the setting for a memorable race. The municipality is working with race production experts abroad in order to bring Jerusalem's marathon up to an international standard. "For professional runners and enthusiasts in these races, they are the climax of a long period of training," a Jerusalem municipality spokesman said in anticipation of the proposed event. "Marathons have become festive events, complete with traditions such as pasta dinners the night before the race, live performances throughout the city, and decorations on the streets where runners pass." Barkat, who has also completed marathons in Berlin and Paris, will certainly have some idea what that entails. The spokesman said the municipality hoped that the race "will put Jerusalem on the map of world marathons as a challenging race." The route is planned to pass strategic places in the city and include "unique sites and views." "Runners will pass through the fascinating views of Jerusalem, in which past and present, east and west all merge, beside historic sites and a modern city," the spokesman said. Both of Israel's marathons in 2009 attracted over 1,000 participants, including a handful that came from abroad to run. Like at many international races, podiums at Israeli marathons have tended to be dominated by Kenyan runners, but Israelis have also had impressive showings on their home turf. Nili Abramski has dominated the women's races while Haile Satayin has been Israel's top male marathon runner.