Streets were shut.
Traffic was blocked.
Public transportation came to a stop.
Schools had to close.
Jerusalem streets were deserted.
Was it a bomb scare, a terror attack, an alien invasion,
or hmm, an US Presidential visit? Not yet.
No, the 3rd International Jerusalem Marathon was set to begin.
To get around the city center on Friday morning
walking and biking were the only options.
Last year rain and hail fell as the runners came near the Old City walls
This year the weather was much better for the marathon runners as
they ran the 42 kilometer route through the Jerusalem, Israel streets.
The cool temperatures did not make everyone happy
and the grey skies and no sunshine were not great for photos.
However, these actors walking on stilts draped in the flags
representing the 50 countries of the runners entered in the race,
and other characters, provided plenty of color as the runners took off.
The marathon winner from Ethiopia ran in a record time,
as Abraham Kabeto approached the finish line
he was well ahead of the Kenyan runner who came in second place.
Here are the top three women runners smiling on the winners’ stand.
However, at this event
there were many more winners than these elite athletes.
Over twenty thousand people ran in the various races,
supported and cheered on by a crowd of a half a million people.
Thousands ran the half marathon, a 21.1 -kilometer course,
through the streets
and up the Jerusalem hills.
The winners of the 10 kilometer race were led by a motorcycle escort,
and thousands of runners followed after them.
Zahal, the Israel Defense Force, had a separate start time for their race.
As these marathon runners approached the special finish line,
the 5th Place winner was already smiling and posing for photos,
in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, which was filled with people.
This girl was so happy after finishing the 10 K race.
What a shame that UNWRA has cancelled the Gaza marathon.
Some people tried to protest or disrupt these Jerusalem races,
but it seems once again that no matter how many people are
on the Jerusalem streets, if no violence is involved,
it is not a news worthy event.
Some full marathon runners were still seen on the streets
hours after the official winners crossed the finish line.
Everyone who participated deserved and received a medal.
Many runners ran in support of a dozens of good causes.
Everyone was a winner on Friday, March 1.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (center) had reason to smile.
The International Jerusalem Marathon has grown bigger
Many more people are already talking about
and planning to run in next year’s Jerusalem Marathon 2014.
Hope to see you next year in Jerusalem!