Days after terror attack, Jerusalem hits the pavement with first marathon
Jerusalem mayor and police chief say race will be held despite tension following the bombing which killed one and wounded over 30.
Jerusalem will hold its first international marathon Friday morning, with heavy traffic expected throughout the city until the afternoon. Some schools will be closed due to the event. Police have beefed up their presence in the city, with no less than 2,000 police, Border Police and Civil Guard volunteers on duty.
The 42-kilometer marathon will begin at 7 A.M. near the Israel Museum. Runners will pass through the Rehavia neighborhood and by Sultan's Pool, enter the Old City through the Jaffa Gate and exit via the Zion Gate. From there, the race will continue south to Armon Hanatziv and Hebron Road, and then on back through Rehavia and the city center to Mount Scopus. After circumventing the Hebrew University's Mount Scopus campus, runners will head back to the starting point at Sacher Park.
In addition to the full marathon, there will be a half-marathon, a 10-kilometer and a 4-kilometer race, and a 400-meter course for children and people with special needs.
Most of the runners are expected to finish the course by 12:30 P.M., when the roads will reopen. Runners who have not finished by the expected end-time will be asked to continue on the sidewalk. According to Mayor Nir Barkat, who initiated the event and will be running the half-marathon, the race will be over in time for Jerusalemites to get ready for the Sabbath.
The Jerusalem municipality said it was pleased with registration for the race, with about 10,000 participants, including 1,000 from abroad - an unprecedented number for an Israeli marathon. The city said 4,000 hotel overnights in the capital are thanks to the race, and that 45 foreign sports reporters are here to cover it.
After Wednesday's terror attack, Barkat, Jerusalem police chief Maj. Gen. Aharon Franco and Police Commissioner David Cohen said the race would be held despite the tension, and police presence would be augmented further than planned before the bombing. Schools along the marathon's course will be closed.