Athletics: IDF to boycott TA marathon after being asked to pay for runners

IDF sources: Over 20,000 IDF soldiers participated in various local marathons in 2008, all for free.

marathon 88 248 (photo credit: Courtesy)
marathon 88 248
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The IDF is boycotting next month's Tel Aviv marathon after the company managing the event decided to charge NIS 50 from each participating soldier, senior officers in the Ground Forces Command said Monday. The decision over the April 24 event was made by Col. Avi Moyal, head of the IDF's Health Fitness Department, in conjunction with senior officers in the Ground Forces Command. IDF sources noted that in 2008, over 20,000 IDF soldiers participated in various marathons throughout the country, including dozens of senior officers, all for free. In the Ra'anana Marathon, held earlier this month, 3,200 soldiers ran, including 30 colonels and even two major generals. "It is outrageous that the IDF is being asked to pay for its participation in the marathon," one officer said Monday. "Needless to say, it is the security that the IDF provides that permits holding such marathons." IDF officers said it was ridiculous to expect soldiers who make several hundred shekels a month, to pay NIS 50 to participate in the marathon, which is being held in Tel Aviv for the first time in 15 years. If the company decided to change its policy, the IDF would reconsider its position and possibly allow soldiers to run in the marathon, the officers said. The Tel Aviv Municipality, which held the city's first marathon in 1981, referred comment to "Marathon Israel" - the company responsible for organizing this year's event. Tsofit Gottleib, spokesperson for the company, said: "Marathon Israel offered the sports department of the IDF 1,800 tickets to the Tel Aviv marathon, for NIS 118,000, and a 50 percent discount to soldiers who wanted to participate in any of the marathon heats. "We invite and hope IDF soldiers participate in the Tel Aviv marathon or the 10 km race. The marathon is set to be the largest sports event of the century, to celebrate the establishment of Tel Aviv, and participants will have an unforgettable experience."