35,000 race through Jerusalem in capital’s largest-ever marathon
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35,000 race through Jerusalem in capital’s largest-ever marathon

Over 4,000 runners from abroad take part, but the vast majority of full marathon participants are Jerusalemites; Kenyan runners win men's and women's races

  • Runners take part in the international Jerusalem Marathon on March 9, 2018. (Flash90 via Jerusalem municipality)
    Runners take part in the international Jerusalem Marathon on March 9, 2018. (Flash90 via Jerusalem municipality)
  • Thousands of runners take part in the international Jerusalem Marathon on March 9, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    Thousands of runners take part in the international Jerusalem Marathon on March 9, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
  • Runners take part in the international Jerusalem Marathon on March 9, 2018. (Flash90 via Jerusalem municipality)
    Runners take part in the international Jerusalem Marathon on March 9, 2018. (Flash90 via Jerusalem municipality)
  • A runner proposes marriage on the sidelines of the international Jerusalem Marathon on March 9, 2018. (Flash90 via Jerusalem municipality)
    A runner proposes marriage on the sidelines of the international Jerusalem Marathon on March 9, 2018. (Flash90 via Jerusalem municipality)
  • Thousands of runners take part in the international Jerusalem Marathon on March 9, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    Thousands of runners take part in the international Jerusalem Marathon on March 9, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
  • Thousands of runners take part in the international Jerusalem Marathon on March 9, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    Thousands of runners take part in the international Jerusalem Marathon on March 9, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
  • Runners take part in the international Jerusalem Marathon on March 9, 2018. (Flash90 via Jerusalem municipality)
    Runners take part in the international Jerusalem Marathon on March 9, 2018. (Flash90 via Jerusalem municipality)
  • Runners take part in the international Jerusalem Marathon on March 9, 2018. (Flash90 via Jerusalem municipality)
    Runners take part in the international Jerusalem Marathon on March 9, 2018. (Flash90 via Jerusalem municipality)
  • A man paints the finish line of the international Jerusalem Marathon on March 9, 2018. (Flash90 via Jerusalem municipality)
    A man paints the finish line of the international Jerusalem Marathon on March 9, 2018. (Flash90 via Jerusalem municipality)
  • Runners take part in the international Jerusalem Marathon on March 9, 2018. (Flash90 via Jerusalem municipality)
    Runners take part in the international Jerusalem Marathon on March 9, 2018. (Flash90 via Jerusalem municipality)
  • Thousands of runners take part in the international Jerusalem Marathon on March 9, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    Thousands of runners take part in the international Jerusalem Marathon on March 9, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

More than 35,000 runners, including some 4,000 from 72 different countries, joined the Jerusalem Marathon on Friday morning, the largest-ever number to take part in the annual race.

The winner, it was announced shortly after 9:30 a.m., was Kipkogey Shadrack, 27, of Kenya. Shadrack, the reigning champion, finished the race in 2:21.26. The second and third slots also went to African runners: Wendwesen Tilahun Damte of Ethiopia and Ronald Kimeli Kurgat, a Kenyan.

Emily Chepkemoi Samoei took her second straight win among the women. Samoei led a sweep of the top three spots by Kenyan women with a time of 2:52:33, followed by Mercy Jelimo and Naomi Jepngetich.

The half-marathon race kicked off at 6:45 a.m., followed by the full marathon at 7. The 10-kilometer race began at 9:30.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (center), with Kenyan runner Kipkogey Shadrack, 27 (right), who won the 2018 Jerusalem Marathon, March 9, 2018. (Flash90)

The guest of honor at the marathon was Olympic medalist and long-distance running world champion Haile Gebrselassie from Ethiopia. Gebrselassie holds two Olympic gold medals in 10,000-meter running and four world titles for that same distance, and he was the first in the world to break the 2:04 time for the marathon run.

International runners came from 72 countries — including China, the US, Germany, Poland, Portugal, and Lithuania. The city of Hong Kong sent the greatest number of runners from outside Israel, followed by Los Angeles, Beijing and London.

Runners take part in the international Jerusalem Marathon on March 9, 2018. (Flash90 via Jerusalem municipality)

The route started next to the Knesset and took the runners past the Mahane Yehuda market, Mount Scopus, the Old City, David’s Tower, and the Haas Promenade.

This year, the municipality connected marathon participants from abroad and throughout Israel by launching the “guest runner” project, wherein Jerusalemites host tourist runners in their homes.

Runners take part in the international Jerusalem Marathon on March 9, 2018. (Flash90 via Jerusalem municipality)

But, perhaps befitting an event that marks 50 years since the reunification of the city, the vast majority of runners in the full, 42.2-kilometer marathon are Jerusalemites, the Jerusalem municipality said.

They were followed by runners from Haifa and then by runners from Modiin, Tel Aviv and Kfar Saba.

Many Jerusalem streets were closed from 5:30 a.m. and scheduled to reopen at 2:30 p.m., as runners participated in six courses, including the full marathon (42.2 km), half-marathon (21.1 km), 10 km, 5 km, family race (1.7 km), and community race (800 meters) for people with special needs.

The average age of runners running the full course is 43, while the average age of those running the 10 km is 32. There are slightly more male runners than women, at 57% to 43%, the city said.

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