Capital prepares for 20,000 runners

Road closures due to Jerusalem Marathon will make travel in the city difficult.

Runners in Jerusalem Marathon pass Old City 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Runners in Jerusalem Marathon pass Old City 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The capital is in full preparation for the 20,000 runners from 52 countries expected to hit the pavement on Friday in the third International Jerusalem Winner Marathon, organized by the Jerusalem Municipality.
Roads will be closed from 6 a.m., with the various races starting between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. There will be a half marathon, a 10-kilometer race and a 4.2-kilometer fun run for charity, in addition to the classic 42-kilometer marathon.
The nature of the route has runners passing by some of the city’s most iconic sites, a special treat for runners, but a headache for residents trying to navigate the city.
The light rail will not pass through the city’s downtown during the marathon.
Instead, the train will run on two routes on either end, from Pisgat Ze’ev to Ammunition Hill and from the Central Bus Station to Mount Herzl. Bus lines 6, 6A, 45, and 25 will connect between Ammunition Hill and the Central Bus Station and will be operating with a stop at the Mahaneh Yehuda market.
Parents should check with their children’s schools to determine any changes in schedule based on the marathon route. People who park anywhere along the route will be prohibited from moving their cars after 8 p.m. on Thursday.
The municipality is urging residents to complete their shopping at the Mahaneh Yehuda market on Wednesday or Thursday.
Routes will reopen to car traffic as the race finishes. All roads are expected to be open to traffic by 1 p.m.
Jerusalem police also began preparing for the race. Around 150 police officers and commanders will be taking part in the marathon, along with more than 3,000 soldiers from the IDF.
More than 1,000 police officers will also secure the race course.
They will be joined by 870 ushers to assist in directing the runners and ensuring everything runs smoothly.
The International Sport and Health Expo, which accompanies the marathon every year, started on Tuesday at the Jerusalem International Convention Center.
Those interested in cheering runners on can catch the best action at the top of Kovshei Katamon Street, the most notorious hill at the very end of the marathon and half-marathon routes where many runners break down and cry.
Runners also appreciate extra cheering in the section of French Hill and the Hebrew University, when the crowd thins out and participants still have to run another 25 kilometers before the finish.
The following thoroughfares will be closed to traffic during the marathon: Ruppin Boulevard, the Hebrew University’s campus, Netanel Lorch, Rabin Boulevard, Haim Hazaz Boulevard, Tchernichovsky Street, HaPalmach Street, HaNasi Street, Keren Hayesod Street, King George Avenue, Jaffa Road, IDF Square, The Paratroopers Road, Haim Bar Lev Boulevard (Highway 1) George Adam Smith Street, Lehi Street, Martin Buber Street, Benjamin Mazar Street, Churchill Street, Kariv Street, the Jaffa Gate, the Armenian Patriarchate, Zion Gate, Hativat Jerusalem Street, David Remez Street, King David Street, Jabotinsky Street, Chopin Street, Dubnov Street, Graetz Street, Emek Refaim Street, Train Road, Bethlehem Road, Hebron Road, Janowski Street, Yehuda Street, Pierre Koenig Street, Eleazar Modi’in Street, Kovshei Katamon Street, Yehoshua Yavin Street, and Sacher Park.