Tens of thousands take part in Jerusalem Marathon
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Tens of thousands take part in Jerusalem Marathon

Groups participating in annual race include coexistence proponents, terror victims and disabled people

Illustrative image of marathon runners in Jerusalem (Uri Lenz/Flash90)
Illustrative image of marathon runners in Jerusalem (Uri Lenz/Flash90)

Many of the capital’s streets were closed off Friday morning as over 25,000 people participated in the annual Jerusalem Marathon.

Participants included 2,200 people from 60 countries other than Israel and 6,000 people running to raise money for charity.

The race’s winner was Ethiopian Tadesse Yaee Dahbi, who completed the 42-kilometer route in 2 hours, 18 minutes and 20 seconds.

Magen David Adom paramedic teams treated approximately 40 runners throughout the morning for bruises, dehydration and other mostly non-serious issues. One woman required evacuation to the hospital.

The race began at 6:45 a.m. and was expected to end some time after noon. Streets would gradually reopen until 2 p.m.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat participated in the event. He wrote on his Facebook page ahead of the race: “Even if you’re not taking part, come down to cheer on the runners in the streets of Jerusalem and to enjoy performances and bands along the route… and one big celebration throughout the city.”

A group of 161 runners representing OneFamily, an organization dedicated to terrorism victims and their families, were in attendance as well.

Aharon Karov, critically injured during Operation Protective Edge, prepares for the 2015 Jerusalem Marathon (Photo credit: Courtesy OneFamily)
Aharon Karov, critically injured during Operation Protective Edge, prepares for the 2015 Jerusalem Marathon. (photo credit: Courtesy OneFamily)

Spearheading the group was Israel Defense Forces commander Aharon Karov, who was critically injured by a booby-trap bomb during Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip last summer.

“In every difficulty from large to small, one should look upward, take time to breathe, and maintain a constant state of development,” Karov said before the race. “Part of my development has been with OneFamily, giving me an opportunity to give strength to others while strengthening myself and those around me.”

Also taking part in the race was the group “Runners without Borders,” consisting of a dozen Arab, Jewish, and Armenian girls running together as part of a grassroots coexistence initiative.

Five of the runners from Runners without Borders during a recent training session. Organizer Shoshana Ben-David, 18, is the second from right. (photo courtesy: Itay Akirav)
Five of the runners from Runners without Borders during a recent training session. Organizer Shoshana Ben-David, 18, is the second from right. (photo credit: Courtesy Itay Akirav)

High school student Shoshana Ben-David, who formed the group, told The Times of Israel ahead of the race that she “wanted to do something for teenage girls, because I saw that girls are doing a lot less sport than the boys are doing. So I said, why not kill two birds with one stone? Let’s combine this together with doing something about the terrible political situation.

“This is not a political project, it’s about a personal connection with the person who lives next to you,” explained Ben-David. “When we discover things we have in common, I am able to understand more about them and where they come from, and they do the same about me.”

Another group that struggled against the odds to take part was that of young people with disabilities.

Police officers from Jerusalem's Lev Habira station have been training ALEH residents for the Jerusalem Marathon for months. (Courtesy of ALEH Jerusalem)
Police officers from Jerusalem’s Lev Habira station have been training ALEH residents for the Jerusalem Marathon for months. (photo credit: Courtesy of ALEH Jerusalem)

They participated in the marathon’s 800-meter community race and are residents of ALEH, a medical and rehabilitation facility providing comprehensive care to children and young adults with severe impairments.

The 15 participants used various walkers and apparatuses to move along the track, with the help of police volunteers.

Shutaf, a Jerusalem-based organization championing year-round inclusion programs for children with special needs, also had representatives in the 800-meter stretch, including children and their families.

Posted by Shutaf – Inclusive Programs for Children and Teens with Special Needs on piektdiena, 2015. gada 13. marts

Melanie Lidman and Renee Ghert-Zand contributed to this report.

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