What city is 6,873 miles from Denver? You don’t know this off the top of your head?
Earlier this week, I was invited by the Israel Government Tourist Office to run the Jerusalem Marathon on March 13. Yes, like in 34 days. I’ll be running and “covering” this event for the blog . I’ll travel around the country to some historical sites and will have the chance to lend a traveler’s spin to this blog.
Jerusalem is a special place to me. When I was 15, my brother and I were part of a “pilgrimage” to Israel. We got to visit Bethlehem, the Old City, Masada, the Dead Sea and many other historical spots. It was my first encounter with a camel (but not his toe) and the first time my taste buds experienced falafel.
Dave and me circa 1982. Hilarious. Farrah Fawcett would be proud of my hair.
Now, 32 years later, I will return in a much different capacity. I get to combine three of my most favorite things in the world: running, traveling and writing.
No, I am not in marathon shape. No, I do not care. Yes, I can cover the distance. No, it will not be fast. Yes, I will for the first time in my life carry a camera in a race and stop and take pictures. No, I will not stop in the middle of the course and cause a cluster f&ck. Yes, there will be selfies.
I am so overwhelmed by the potential of this experience. It has been my dream since I started running to do a marathon in another country. To be surrounded by this type of history and scenery is beyond amazing.
I think to myself: what is an aid station like in Jerusalem? Do they have hummus flavored GUs? How about the porta potties? (my guess is they smell the same as they do here). What will the expo be like?
Jerusalem is about 37 miles from Tel Aviv, where the international airport is located. This ancient city is mountainous (Judean Mountains) and sits at 2,500 feet. It is nestled between the Mediterranean and the Dead Seas. As you know, the city is holy to three different religions: Islam, Judaism and Christianity. It is one of the oldest cities in the world, people! (5,000 years).
The marathon course is crazy hilly and boasts many twists and turns. Not a PR course for sure, but I will have many other things on my mind like the fact that I am running on 5,000 year old sacred ground. This is the fifth year for the marathon, which now includes 25,000 people from 54 countries (2,500 are foreigners). The mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, is an avid marathon runner himself and typically does the race. I’m excited to have a briefing with him before the race!
Some say this is one of the hardest marathons in the world given all of the hills. I’ll let you know after I have a recovery soak in the Dead Sea (for real! It’s on the itinerary…I’ll never have a better post-marathon soak).
So, there you have it. Lots more to come, so I hope you can follow me on this adventure.
I better get training because it is almost time to taper.
Have you ever run a marathon in another country? No
Do you want to? Yes. One of theses days (years) I will get to Athens and the Great Wall.
PS: I cannot thank the Israel Government Tourist Office enough for so generously sponsoring my travel, race entry and accommodations.