Tourist Tip #256 / Running With Israelis

Vacation doesn't have to mean that you ditch your routine. While you're here, hook up with a running group and explore the country in a whole new way.

So you’re on vacation? That's no reason to let yourself go. Whether you are a novice runner or training for your next marathon, don’t let a visit to Israel stop you from staying fit.

In the past few years running has been gaining popularity in Israel, with more and more running events springing up across the city and, as a result, running groups have been popping up everywhere too. Go ahead and put on your shorts, tees, and running shoes and take to the streets.

Running is a great way to get to know a city and running with a group is a great way to get to know the locals.   Most running groups require you to sign up and pay a membership fee, but since you’re just visiting, it's best to find a group that is open and free.

Nike Israel organizes free running groups across the country – just show up and professional trainers will get you running, stretching, and doing a variety of exercises that are guaranteed to shed time off your mile. The schedule is as follows:

Tel Aviv – Tuesdays at 7:20 P.M. at Hanger 13, The Tel Aviv Port

Haifa – Thursday at 7:20 P.M. at the Nike store in the Haifa Mall

Jerusalem – Sundays at 7:20 P.M. at the Israel Museum parking lot (north-eastern corner) 

Netanya – Mondays at 7:20 P.M. at the Ir Amim Mall

For more information, check out Nike Running Israel on Facebook.

Another great running group that is open for drop-ins meets at Charles Clore Park in south Tel Aviv (between the David Intercontinental Hotel and the Jaffa Port, near the exercise equipment behind the gas station) on Mondays and Wednesdays at 8:00 P.M. This group is smaller and more intimate with the added bonus that the instructor, Yaniv “Goonda” Keter, is a real character, an excellent trainer, and one of Tel Aviv’s nightlife kings. Be sure to ask him for some tips on going out. For more information, visit Start2Run on Facebook.

And since you're here and running, why not join in in one of the many races regularly taking place? The next event is the half-marathon and 10k races open to the public as a part of Maccabiah. These races will take place on Tuesday July 23 in Ramat Gan. For more information and to sign up, visit http://www.maccabiman.co.il/ (in Hebrew).

Nir Kafri
AP