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The Israel running boom is in full swing with the Jerusalem marathon leading the way

When Danny Felsenstein (second photo) first competed in Israel, in one of the first Tiberias marathons, it was 1979 and distance running was relatively small. “At that time we would have 300 to 400 entrants in a race,” recalls Felsenstein.  “Now you get 35,000 in the Tel Aviv marathon, including the 10K and half marathon. The Jerusalem marathon is now a world-class event.  There has definitely been a running boom in Israel.”

This is reflected in what was an extraordinary 12-month period for Israeli track and road running last year. 2019 brought 13 new national records, six of them set by Lonah Chemtai Salpeter, whose achievements included breaking Paula Radcliffe’s 16-year European 10K record (30:05).  The Kenyan-Israelian Athlete has also run 2:19:46 for the marathon.  

Felsenstein has run races around the world including the London Marathon and in 1981 in Maccabiah he ran the half marathon, 10,000m and 5,000m, “all in one week and in that order.” A key influence in his early competitive years was Harriers’ Bryan Smith, whose wife Joyce won the first two London marathons in 1981 and 1982 and who still coaches sprinter Colette Hurley. 

Felsenstein made aliyah in 1982 and almost four decades later he is, at 62, still an active endurance runner, although these days he limits himself to the 5K and 10K distances. “I’ve got some competition,” he says, “but I’m in the top three in the 60 to 70 age group.” 

The masters athletics scene in Israel is very different from that in the UK, observes Felsenstein. “No vets do track and field and there are no dedicated vets leagues. It’s mostly road running, usually split into age categories.”

Felsenstein belongs to a team made up of colleagues from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he is chair of the Department of Geography. “I train with the Dean of Social Sciences,” he says, ”and the head of the Hebrew University Business School is one of my closest rivals. Each year brings a reassessment of expectations.

“My aim is no longer to improve on what I did the previous year but to decline at a less rapid rate. I’m just happy to run, be fit and not be injured, especially having come through cancer six years ago.”

(02/03/2020) ⚡AMP
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Jerusalem Marathon

Jerusalem Marathon

First held in 2011, the Jerusalem International Winner Marathon has become a major event with 30,000 participants, of which hundreds are elite competitors and runners from abroad. The course was especially selected to recount Jerusalem's 3,000-year historical narrative since the beginning of its existence. The race challenges runners while exposing them to magnificent views, exquisite landscapes and fascinating historical sites...

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Kenyan runners win at the Jerusalem Marathon today

Kenya's Ronald Kurgat won Israel's 9th Jerusalem Marathon on Friday at two hours, eighteen minutes and forty seven seconds (2:18:47), ahead of his compatriots Kipkogey Shadrack, who clocked 2:19:07, and Jonathan Chesoo (2:22:07).

Kenya also won the top three places in the women's race, as the winner was Nancy Chepngetich Kimayo at 2:44:50, ahead of Mercy Jelimo Too at 2:54:00 and Naomi Jepngetich in 2:58:00.

The Jerusalem Marathon has been held annually since 2011, the race also includes half marathon, 10km and 5km runs, as well as 1.7km family run.

(03/15/2019) ⚡AMP
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Jerusalem Marathon

Jerusalem Marathon

First held in 2011, the Jerusalem International Winner Marathon has become a major event with 30,000 participants, of which hundreds are elite competitors and runners from abroad. The course was especially selected to recount Jerusalem's 3,000-year historical narrative since the beginning of its existence. The race challenges runners while exposing them to magnificent views, exquisite landscapes and fascinating historical sites...

more...
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Jerusalem Marathon guest of honor was Haile Gebrselassie

Kipkogey Shadrack, 27, of Kenya won the Jerusalem Marathon in 2:21.26. 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. 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. (03/09/2018) ⚡AMP
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U.S. Rabbis to run 10K at Jerusalem Marathon to raise funds

This is the second consecutive year ten American rabbis will run the 10-km. at the annual marathon this weekend, via a program called RabbisCanRun launched by not-for-profit organization Kav L’Noar across North America. The organization helps youth at risk in Israel and their families build the relationships and skills they need to secure a more positive future. The participating rabbis have thus far raised $78,000 for the organization. Aside from supporting and raising awareness about a worthy cause, the initiative also seeks to encourage rabbis to improve their health. (03/08/2018) ⚡AMP
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