The countdown is on! No, no, don't get excited. I am not going to be running in this one. Actually, I am not really a big marathon running fan in the first place because I think it's overkill for your body! Or maybe I am just saying that because I'm not so sure I could make it through...
...regardless, for the first time ever in history, on March 25, 2011, a marathon will be taking place right here in the ancient city of Jerusalem. Quite a city to add to your list if you're a marathon junkie! There have been other places that have tempted me, i.e. San Diego's Rock-n-Roll Marathon is supposed to be one of the most scenic and also has great music, to boot; then there's the famous New York City and Boston Marathons; and for me, a country music fan, there's Nashville's Country Music Marathon; and lastly, for scenic purposes alone (or maybe I just want a vacation), I would have to vote a big "yes" to Honolulu, Napa Valley and Big Sur.
|The Marathon Track|
Running through Jerusalem will literally be "running through history", as the marathon's slogan mimics out to awaiting athletes. Jerusalem is a pretty compact city, only about 48 square miles in total. Moreover, the downtown and the big sites are all conveniently centralized in the heart of Jerusalem's city center, making it an easy city to check out by foot. The Jerusalem marathon will take runners past it all, swinging by the Knesset (Israel's parliament building), the Supreme Court, the Gerard Behar Center (theater arts building and also where my ulpan is located), Mamilla Mall, the Jaffa Gate, the Old City walls, Cinemateque (which is still high on my list to visit - look out for a future post!), Emek Refaim (aka a residential neighborhood dubbed "restaurant row" with leafy trees and cute homes), the Armon Hanatziv Promenade, the Jerusalem Municipality, Ammunition Hill, and also, the Hebrew University campus in my neck of the woods. Whew! And this is a just a shortened list. I think it's quite an exciting destination for a running enthusiast.
I would probably be like this guy in the picture above. Running would definitely take a back step to my curious eye. The mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, had this to say about Jerusalem's pending marathon: "Few cities in the world can combine breathtaking, inspirational views, like Jerusalem's famous historical sites and amazing landscapes, into their marathon course. As someone who has been running across the city for many years, I can personally testify that Jerusalem has been blessed with fresh mountain air and perfect running weather. I look forward to seeing you run in Jerusalem and taking part in the beginning of a unique and exceptional tradition of international marathons in the holy city."
I couldn't agree with him more! Jerusalem is certainly being conscious of increasing its worldwide presence, with the addition of modern, sophisticated hotels and new developments in urban planning and upscale pedestrian plazas. It makes me wonder if they will attempt to secure a bid for the Olympics in a few years. Very exciting to watch a city develop and revamp itself before your very eyes! I'm looking forward to seeing the city being overtaken by runners come March, and perhaps I'll even decide to move my running outside and complete the 10K!