More than 30,000 people, including some 4,000 from abroad, are expected to run in the Jerusalem Marathon on Friday, the largest number yet to take part in the annual race.
The guest of honor at the marathon is 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 60 countries including from 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.
The route will start next to the Knesset and take them past Mahane Yehuda Marketplace, 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.
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 km 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 will be closed from 5:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., as runners participate 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.