Tel Aviv Marathon Map Sends Runners the Wrong Way

More than 25,000 people have registered for the various races, of whom 1,750 plan to run the full marathon.

Tel Aviv Marathon organizers were somewhat red-faced over the weekend upon learning that the 150,000 maps they'd printed for this Friday's race had the route marked incorrectly.

Thousands had been distributed to participants before the mistake was noticed. Upon being informed of the error, the race's organizers stopped distributing the map to runners, who were instead referred to the marathon's website for the correct route.

The Marathon information booth at Rabin Square, March 26, 2012.
Daniel Bar-On

Nevertheless, the maps are still being distributed to fans and city residents, with those manning the Rabin Square marathon booth clarifying that the route is improperly marked.

Marathon fans or those hoping to cheer on a particular participant, however, are advised to check the website (www.tlvmarathon.co.il ) for the correct route.

Routes for both the full marathon and the half marathon show the error, about 11.5 kilometers into the race. At that point, instead of pointing the runners northward on Hayarkon Street, the map has the runners turning eastward, toward Nordau Boulevard.

In actuality, that's the way the runners of both the marathon and the half marathon are meant to return after circling through the northern part of the city.

Complaints about the discrepancy between the website and the printed map started to appear on runners' internet forums and on the marathon's Facebook page at the end of last week.

In response, a marathon representative confirmed that the map on the website was the correct one, and the map that was distributed in the runners' kits "was originally meant for city residents, to point out road closures and to connect them to 'the marathon celebration,' and are not accurate."

Runners were not placated. "Typical Israeli bungling," wrote one runner.

Last year there was an embarrassing error during the first Jerusalem Marathon, when the three leading runners took a wrong turn and ended up at the finish line of the half-marathon instead.

Ofer Shytrit, the CEO of Kapaim, which is producing the marathon, told Haaretz on Monday that the error was the result of last-minute changes in the routes that were made at the behest of the police. "From the point of view of cheering the runners on, we gave the right hours; there's no mistake there," he said. "The mistake is in the directions - they're different, reversed.

The maps were distributed as part of a fan kit to interested residents.

"We went with the concept of 'marathon celebration,'" Shytrit said, with an aim toward pacifying residents whose movement on the roads during the race may be restricted.

Organizers hope 80,000 to 100,000 people will cheer the runners on along the route, compared to 30,000-40,000 last year.

The marathon event comprises seven different races: The full marathon, the half marathon, a 10-kilometer race, a 4.2-kilometer race, a mini-marathon for kids and races for hand-pedaled cycles and rollerbladers.

More than 25,000 people have registered for the various races, of whom 1,750 plan to run the full marathon.