March through Zion and go around her, count her towers” (Psalms 48:13)
Aside from being the national capital of Israel and religious capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem has recently become a popular location for different types of racing events, both exhibitions and professional. The challenging geographical topography, along with the historical and pretty scenery, is the perfect backdrop for many athletic and sporting events. For example, over the past year, the capital city has played host to both the international FormulaOne Road Show and the European Under-21 sports tournament, among other happenings. With the excitement of the High Holidays behind us, and the prospect of a long winter ahead, the Jerusalem Municipality has announced some new exciting, public sports events over the next coming months:
On Friday, October 11th, Jerusalem will be playing host to Giro d’Italia’s first annual Gran Fondo Bicycle Race. This Italian-themed bike marathon, encompassing 20 kilometers (about 12.5 miles) of the capital city, will feature a scenic route through the old city, passing by many of the major sites on the way, and is suitable for riders of all ages. For those who are more inclined to adventure, the city will also offer a longer “Medio Fondo” route, a 148 km challenging route including a total of 3,250 sheer meters (about 10,663 feet) ascent through the surrounding Judean hills. Starting on the Thursday before the race, Giro d’Italia will also be hosting an Expo on Herzl Blvd. at HaMeyasedim St, (near the Yefe Nof Light Rail station), featuring stalls and lessons from leading bicycle companies around the world, as well as a varied selection of Italian products and Giro d’Italia merchandise. This event will be available to the public free of charge (even to non-racers), and will be open through race day. For those interested in registering for the city race or the more advanced races (60 NIS or 550 NIS respectively), visit the event website at http://www.granfondojerusalem.com/ or contact +972 544576267. Even for those who are not inclined to bicycle riding, it will still be a show to watch.
The City of Jerusalem has just announced that it has opened registration for the 2014 Jerusalem Winner Marathon, which will take place Friday, March 24th. This event, an annual opportunity for trained runners to conquer challenging routes through the city’s unique historical façade, features 10 km, half marathon (21.1 km) and full marathon (42.195 km) courses, and is guaranteed to be a gratifying experience for all involved, especially the many foreigners who fly in for the race. Besides for the marathon itself, the city will be hosting a three day Sports & Health exhibition at the Binaynei Ha’uma International Conference Center beginning on March 18th, and will be offering a traditional pasta dinner on March 20th for all half and full marathon runners. Among the hundreds of individual runners and families running together, there are also many teams who are running to collect money for worthy causes, such as Team Yachad, Team Shalva and Team Butterfly, among others, giving a true feeling of “Our feet are standing in your gates, O Jerusalem … a city that is united together” (Psalms 122:2-3). For those planning on running, registration can be completed on the Jerusalem Winner Marathon Website (https://www.jerusalem-marathon.com/). Runners are recommended to register as soon as possible to begin training right away for the challenging race. Even for those who are not planning on running, the Jerusalem Marathon is a unique opportunity to see hundreds of athletes running through the city. Everyone is encouraged to come and cheer them on.
By Tzvi Silver