The full, 42.2-kilometer course of the Tel Aviv Gillette Marathon has been postponed from this Friday to next Friday, March 22, due to expected extreme heat conditions this Friday. In addition, the route of the full marathon will be shifted to Hayarkon Park, rather than being held in the city streets.
The Tel Aviv Municipality announced the change Tuesday afternoon. All the other planned races will take place this Friday, although kick-off times have been moved back by one hour because of the weather.
The organizers cited the weather and compliance with Health Ministry directives in their announcement. The municipality was considering several other options, including holding all the events next weekend, but due to President Barack Obama's visit to Israel, this was impossible.
Another option that was rejected was to start the race at the break of dawn, but medical experts vetoed the idea over concerns that runners would be unable to log adequate sleeping hours before the race.
"Full Marathon runners have three options," organizers announced, "to participate in the full marathon next week, to participate in one of the shorter courses this week (21.1K or 10K) and to get a partial refund or not participate at all and get a full refund."
It seems that the runners themselves are pleased with the decision, such as the one who posted to the running and triathlon forum of the Tapuz web portal: "Nothing will happen if it is postponed by a week nobody wants to see anyone be hurt by the heat."
Two years ago the Tel Aviv marathon took place in blazing heat. Many of the runners barely made it to the finish line, others collapsed on the way, and one 42-year-old runner later died in the hospital.