1. FEATURE: Running the illustrious hills of the Holy City

Friday, April 07, 2006 | 
Someone conned me into running the Jerusalem Marathon.

Granted it’s actually a HALF marathon and, granted, I did sign up on my own. But I must not have been in my right mind when I took the word of a jogging partner who promised I’d really enjoy the run. Silly me.

The race on Monday was populated by dedicated and determined runners who wear spandex, smile-less expressions and set their stopwatches to pace themselves for a good race time. Then there were stragglers like me who arrive late, haven’t tied their sneakers properly and whose sole goal is merely to not stop during the grueling pace. We run for the “fun” of it. Or whatever.

Fun is hard to come by when you’re talking about 13 miles (21.1 km.) on the unforgiving hills of Jerusalem at an altitude of 800 meters (2,400 feet). Some stretches of uphill lasted for 3 km. at a time. Oy!

I feel better now. Today was the first day that not every flicker of movement reminded me of what I did. And mentally, I’m less scarred than a few days ago. As a matter of fact, I might have to run next year to beat my time this year, which hovered shamefully at the two-hour mark!

The Jerusalem Sports Authority said it is considering initiating a full marathon in 2007 to celebrate the 40-year reunification of Jerusalem under Israeli rule. Huh! I’ll be “celebrating” the full marathon from the sidelines. The half remains a ‘maybe.’

The runners in the photo are seen on their way in the Jerusalem forest.

Photos and more from this first person account of the 2006 Jerusalem Marathon will appear in the May 2006 edition of israel today.
-Nicole Jansezian-

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