Major roads and key thoroughfares were blocked to traffic in Tel Aviv Friday for the city’s marathon, with an estimated record number of 40,000 runners from across the country and abroad taking part in the annual event.
Ethiopian runner Balata Mekonnen won the full marathon, crossing the finish line after two hours and 12 minutes.
Hundreds of cops were deployed to secure the event, and dozens of paramedics were spread along the route.
Other than the main 42-kilometer (26-mile) run, the day’s events also included a half-marathon route and several shorter races. The first, a hand cycling race, began at 6:10 a.m., with the half marathons starting at 6:15 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. The full marathon kicked off at 7 a.m and the other 10-kilometer and five-kilometer routes were staggered throughout the morning, with the final one scheduled to start at 10:45 a.m.
From Rokach Boulevard in the city’s north to Jaffa’s Jerusalem Boulevard in the south, a number of streets were completely closed off to traffic from the early morning until Friday afternoon, while parking was restricted in other areas.
Among the areas shut to vehicles were: Rokach Blvd., Ta’aruha St., Levi Eshkol St., Shay Agnon St., Unizman St., the Tel Aviv port, Glilot Junction, Yarkon St., Herbert Samuel Esplanade, Koifman St., Goldman St., Dizengoff St., Allenby St., Rothschild St., Tarsat St., Ben-Gurion Blvd., Menahem Begin Rd., Kaplan St., Hasmonaim St., Ibn Gabirol St, Marmurek St., Jerusalem Blvd, Herzl St., Elipelet St. and the Aliah Hashnia St.
Namir Road was set to be blocked for traffic between Glilot Junction and Pinkas Street from both directions between 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Safety regulations for outdoor sporting events were toughened in recent years after 29-year-old Michael Michaelovitch, an IDF sergeant, died during a half marathon in Tel Aviv in 2013 during a heatwave. Following that incident, a committee of experts recommended that events be halted if temperatures rise above 28°C (82.4°F).
Temperatures were set to be well below the limit in Tel Aviv Friday, and runners were expecting pleasant running conditions.
In 2015, the marathon was called off mid-way due to high temperatures that saw two people hospitalized in serious condition. Almost 90 others required treatment for less-severe incidences of heatstroke as well as bruises and other injuries in that race.