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Israel's Biggest Running Events
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Israel's Biggest Running Events

Picture of Serena Carsley-Mann
Updated: 12 October 2016
Israel is known to be a fit and healthy country, especially with its strong army. Most Israelis keep in shape and maintain an active lifestyle as a part of the daily lifestyle and culture. Israel has a wide array of athletic talent, being home to some of the world’s finest athletes, as well as having many novice runners who are just beginning. Find out which running event is most suitable for you.

Tel Aviv Night Run

The Tel Aviv Night Run, a 10 kilometer run, with approximately 25,000 participants, is welcoming to all types of runners. The Night Run is an upbeat, fun and exciting event. The music makes you wonder if you’re at a dance club or at a running event. Practically all of Tel Aviv comes out to watch this race, and cheer on its fellow Tel Avivians. The finish line, at Ganei Yeshoshua in Park Hayarkon always has the best celebratory party.

Early registration is 150 shekels, and late registration is 180 shekels. The race kit, including a bright T-shirt (to be seen at night) that can be worn with pride forever, makes it all the more worthwhile.

Tiberias Marathon

The Tiberias Marathon, 42.2 kilometers, is considered to be the official Israel marathon, organized by the Israeli Athletic Association. It was the first marathon event in Israel, and has been running for 39 years.

It is unique as it is the ‘’lowest’’ marathon in the world, at approximately 200 meters below sea level in the Jordan Valley. The entire course is flat and fast, so although running a marathon is quite the challenge, it makes the journey slightly more endurable. It is actually one the world’s 10 fastest marathons. The course goes along the shoreline of the Sea of Galilee through to the historical Jordan Valley. Furthermore, it does not get too hot due to its location.

The price of participation ranges from 240-395 shekels, depending on how early you register. On the same day, there is also a 10 kilometer run that starts 20 minutes after the marathon.

The Natal Color Run

The Color Run, organized by Natal, will be happening for the third time this year, with the goal of raising awareness of PTSD in Israel. The idea of running in color is to connect the body and the mind, with color representing the transparency of the internal, emotional damage. While running, participants will be sprinkled with colored powder, toxin-free of course. The event will also have various activities with color, at Ganei Yeshoshua in Tel Aviv, for people of all ages.

The run is open to runners of all levels, with a 1.5 kilometer fun run, as well as a 1.5 km competitive race for ages 7-14. Additionally, there is a 300-meter children’s race, and a competitive 5k race. Registration prices vary from 40-120 shekels, depending on which course and how early you register.

All the money from the event will go to Natal, an organization which helps people deal with the emotional effects of terror and war-related trauma. You will feel good running and helping others, while having fun all at the same time.

Tel Aviv Marathon

The Tel Aviv Samsung Marathon offers various courses, giving all runners a chance to participate, including a full 42.2-kilometer marathon, a 21.1-kilometer half marathon, 10-kilometer, five-kilometer and a kids’ mini marathon. It will also host a 42 kilometer hand cycle cycle for athletes with special needs.

The course goes down the Tel Aviv and Jaffa seashore, as well as the main streets of Tel Aviv.

The marathon is one of Tel Aviv’s main projects to attract an international crowd, and this year it is estimated that 40,000 people will be running.

The week before the marathon, an exposition is held at Kikar Rabin, where runners pick up their T-shirt and racing kit. There is a ton of exciting running gadgets and accessories to get runners pumped up for the big event. They even photograph participants, making them feel like a real superstar.

This race is probably the gimmickiest of all, with a pasta party the night before, as well as the option to pay an extra 120 shekels to hang out in the marathon VIP longue. But with all things said, it makes for a fun race.

They have recently added the option of ’running for a cause’ in which runners can choose an organization to donate to by getting sponsors.

Jerusalem Night Run

The Jerusalem Night Run offers a 5-kilometer course, as well as a 10-kilometer course. These two distances make it open to many different levels of runners. The route goes through the incredible, historical holy city. The Jerusalem lights at night truly offer a breathtaking journey.

The course has a fair amount of hills, but at least it’s not a full marathon.

Race kits can be picked up at HaTachana in Jerusalem; however, they have made it easy for Tel Avivians participating by having race kits available at the Brooks Store in Sarona, Tel Aviv, as well. Participation ranges from $24-40, depending on the course and time registered.

Eilat Desert Marathon

The Eilat Desert Marathon, an Israeli International Marathon, offers a full 42.2 kilometer marathon, as well as a half marathon, 21.1-kilometer, a 10-kilometer and a five-kilometer. There is even a two-kilometer race for children, so no need to worry about finding a babysitter.

This race offers runners the chance to participate in something truly unique, a chance to connect to nature and run a marathon through the dessert and along the Red Sea – something most people can’t say they’ve done.

This race is fairly new; the 2015 Desert Marathon will be only the second time it has been in existence. It will be the fifth time hosting a half Desert Marathon.

If you are looking for a beach getaway, Eilat is the perfect place to do it. And you will especially deserve that relaxation and pina colada at the beach after your race.

Jerusalem Marathon

This year marks the sixth international Jerusalem Marathon, which will have approximately 25,000 runners, similar to the Tel Aviv Marathon. It includes a full marathon, a half marathon, a competitive five-kilometer, a popular five-kilometer, an 800 meter community track, as well as a hand bike race. It also accessible for people with disabilities.

This course is quite challenging, as Jerusalem is known to have a fair share of hills. However, running through the beautiful and historical city of Jerusalem makes it worthwhile. The course goes through landscapes, mountains, and through many of Jerusalem’s top cultural spots, including the Knesset, Machane Yehuda Market, Mount Scopus, The Old City and David’s Tower. Perhaps all this scenery will ease the struggle of running 42.2 kilometers on a hilly course.

Participation ranges from $28-85, like most races, depending on which course and the time of registration. There is a pasta party the night before, and an exposition held a few days before as well. Along the way are activity stations, as well as engraving stations to remember the event forever. The marathon also offers the option of ‘running for a cause’ and raising donations from sponsors.