The Jerusalem Marathon is an annual sporting event held in the Israeli capital, traditionally every March. Since its official establishment in 2011, over 10,000 runners from Israel and other countries participate in this prestigious “road race”.
Before the official formation of the current event, marathons in Jerusalem had been already staged a few years back. Half-marathons (which, simply put, cover half the distance of a regular marathon) were held in the city after that. A subsequent push from Nir Barkat, Jerusalem’s mayor at that time, led to the official establishment of what is now the Jerusalem Marathon.
The very first Jerusalem Marathon in 2011
The first full Jerusalem Marathon was held on Friday, March 25, 2011. Despite torrential rainfall in the few days leading up to the marathon the rain held off, it was very chilly, but proved to be an ideal day for running. Many thousands took part in running the full marathon, half marathon, 10K and 4.2K charity fun run. Many many more took advantage of the traffic free roads to line the route and cheer enthusiastically. It is appreciated by all the runners.
There was a tremendous atmosphere helped by the crowds but also by the runners – it must be the only race in the world where the runners join in with Shabbat Songs, Chasidic Classics and of course Jerusalem of Gold as they entered the Old City.
There are many hills in Jerusalem and it seemed like they were all included in the race route!
The organization was amazing – the route included the best of Jerusalem’s sites starting between the Knesset and Israel Museum, making its way uphill into downtown. We had the privilege of running along the Jerusalem Light Railway tracks on Jaffa Road, into the Old City at Jaffa Gate, out from Zion Gate with the view over the valley, into the Gei Ben Hinom Valley (Sultan’s Pool), Old Train Station, President’s Residence, Emek Refaim along the Tayelet (stunning views), Hebron Road and then towards the Palmach area – the half marathon finished by Gan Sacher, whilst the full marathon set out for another loop that included the climb to Mount Scopus and back.
There was a small hiccup when the marathon winners took a wrong turning a few hundred meters from the finish, but after consultation they were awarded their prizes.
Many more images in our Jerusalem Marathon Photo Gallery.
2020 and 2021 editions
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Jerusalem Municipality, in accordance with the Ministry of Health, decided to cancel this year’s marathon. The registrants are given the option of obtaining a refund or transferring their entry to 2021.
The tenth Jerusalem Marathon will take place on March 12, 2021.
For more information, check out the Jerusalem Marathon’s official website (in Hebrew – click for the English version on the upper right-hand corner of the page).