More than 40,000 runners, including some 4,600 athletes from 80 different countries, joined the ninth annual Jerusalem Marathon on Friday morning, the largest-ever number of participants to take part in the race.
Runners from Kenya won the men and women’s races — Ronald Kimeli, 33, won the men’s marathon, completing the course in 02:18:47, and Kimaiyo Nancy Chepngetich, 35, finished the women’s race in 02:44:50.
Newly elected Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion welcomed the runners and spectators at the start of the race and congratulated the winners at the finish line.
“This is an amazing event, and anyone who has not experienced it cannot understand the emotions. I intend to run next year,” Lion told the crowd.
“This year, the Jerusalem Winner Marathon was a record-breaking marathon — in terms of the number of overall participants, the number of foreign runners, and the amount of tourists to Israel. The marathon brought NIS 20 million (some $5 million) to businesses in the city,” Lion added.
Hundreds of police, Border Police and security officers were deployed to Jerusalem’s streets, to keep the public safe and to direct traffic during and after the marathon.
Sixty-six runners required medical treatment during the race, seven of whom were taken to the hospital with light injuries, according to Channel 12 news.
The race snaked through the Old City walls, the Sultan’s Pool, Mishkenot Sha’ananim, Mount Zion, the German Colony, Rehavia, the Armon Hanatziv Promenade, Ammunition Hill, Mount Scopus, Mount of Olives and other sites in the capital.
Runners took part in six different types of course — 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.
Jerusalem hoisted a Syrian flag near the Knesset on the route of the annual race in case Damascus-born Hasan Aljijakli, a Syrian runner, showed up to take part in the event; however, he appeared to have failed to race despite registering.
The Tel Aviv Marathon in February attracted an estimated 40,000 runners, including 2,500 from abroad.