Neither rain, cold, wind, and mud,
nor the slippery stones of the Jerusalem streets in the Old City stopped the running of the Jerusalem Winner Marathon 2022.
The International Jerusalem Marathon 2020 was canceled after its launch due to the pandemic, but the miserably wintery weather of late March did not stop the March 25, 250,000 runners.
Sub-optimal conditions may have slowed down the full marathon times and kept spectators away, but the people of all ages, both at the starting and finish lines, were enthusiastic.
At the Tower of David the night prior to the Jerusalem Winner Marathon 2022 the foreign press launch was held.
The focus of the event, besides getting your press pass, was to meet Valentya Kiliarska, the Ukrainian marathon runner.
Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion welcomed her to Jerusalem, Israel, at the Tower of David reception, on the night before the races .
I decided to let Valentyna tell you her story. Yes – did win, coming in first.
The signup and registration for the Jerusalem Marathon and EXPO were at Cinema City, the same as in October 2021.
The silver-studded dancer downstairs was new to the event this year, it was good to see him partying again.
He was jiving at what has become the annual Jerusalem Marathon Pasta Party at Cinema City, the night prior to race day.
Walking home through Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, my boots got covered with mud, in spite of these rolls of fake grass.
The park looked ready. Already wet, I was lucky to be able to get home before more rains soaked the grounds yet again.
My day started off with LOVE, the medical clown on a bicycle who, after posing for a photo, led a group of young staff at the barriers in exercises to warm up while standing long hours in the winter weather.
At corners and main Jerusalem street intersections, there was water and medical assistance and yellow raincoated marathon support workers.
I focused on the full marathon this year as they started on the long run around on the Jerusalem streets closed to traffic.
Some Jerusalem streets are blocked to pedestrians for the full marathon runners to pass without hindrance. Not everyone is happy about that.
Full marathon runners kept coming as I stood off the road.
Enthusiastic runners some dressed in costumes,
some with a shirt for a cause they were supporting,
and others in vivid colors.
Entering the park near the starting line, was one group meeting place.
Every year it is hard to find people, this year in the harsh and changing weather it was even more difficult.
This year a group with Ukrainian flags was at the starting line.
There were large puddles just past the starting line near the Knesset and Israel Museum.
Fewer spectators were in the park this year as supporters stood clustered in spots with less mud.
After completing the races, other than the full marathon, runners had to enter the soggy park grounds from the street and go through the mud to get their medallions.
Mayor Moshe Lion and his wife got a ride to the starting line. In my opinion, anyone who ran in this year’s weather deserves a medal!
The full men’s Jerusalem Marathon winner was Ageze Guadie, 33 years old, from Israel, with a time of 2:37:17.
In past years, I also loved sharing photos of groups of runners for good causes. This year it was too difficult to cover the entire park.
So I was happy to find these smiling young ladies,
and these colorful guys from South Africa and Australia.
Serious supporters stood at the full marathon finish line.
Watching for favorites to run those last meters and cross the line.
Standing with Ukraine at the start and finish line this year.
Also, receiving less attention than the full marathon winner was Masha Radko, also originally from Ukraine, who came in 2nd place for the women’s half-marathon.
Full marathon runners were headed to the finish line,
with more determined runners still coming,
as we headed home to warm up after hours in the rain.
When I prepared and posted this video, I had no idea who Tali was, but thanks to social media, I found out she is the daughter of long-time friends.
Never know what will happen on the Jerusalem streets.
I am looking forward to the warmer weather predicted soon.
Next week, will we be complaining about the heat instead of the cold?