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About the Marathon

The tenth International Jerusalem Winner Marathon will be held on Friday, March 20th, 2020.

The event will include several tracks – marathon (42.2 km), half-marathon (21.1 km), 10 km race, 5 km race, family 1.7km race and an 800 m community race. This is one of Israel's largest marathons, with 3000 participants of which thousands are elite runners and runners from abroad.
The various tracks pass by fascinating historical sites that illuminate 3,000 years of the history of Jerusalem, Israel's capital.
The International Jerusalem Winner Marathon combines physical endurance with exquisite landscapes, fresh mountain air and unique culture and heritage sites such as the Israeli Knesset, Machane Yehuda Marketplace, Mount Scopus, the Old City, David's Tower, Haas Promenade and more.
It is guaranteed to be a challenging, thrilling and unforgettable experience for all runners.

Upcoming Marathons
The International Jerusalem Winner Marathon will be held this year for the ninth time in a row.
The scheduled dates for the next annual marathons are as follows:

Eleventh International Jerusalem Marathon – March 12th, 2021
We look forward to seeing you again!
The International Jerusalem Winner Marathon is produced by Target Market.
Click here for more information about Jerusalem

Details subject to change

Information for Residents

The Jerusalem Winner Marathon will be held on Friday, March 15th, 2019, from 6 am until 2 pm and will pass by many of the city's monuments and historical sites.
The marathon day will be a festive occasion for the entire city. All residents of Jerusalem are invited to join the fun, cheer on the runners and participate in the various events. The Jerusalem Municipality will collaborate with businesses and the Machane Yehuda market located along the route of the marathon to help the residents of Jerusalem conduct their business on the day of the marathon.

Traffic arrangements will be published as soon as possible

Details subject to change


Hundreds of international and domestic marathons around the world are supported by volunteers who wish to contribute to developing a healthy and active lifestyle in their communities. The Jerusalem Winner Marathon has always benefited from its dedicated volunteers.

If you want to join the excitement and experience the power and energy of the most thrilling marathon in Israel,
contact us today!

Volunteers are needed during the week of the Jerusalem Winner Marathon, March 12th-15th, 2019 to distribute equipment and kits to runners, operate water stations, run activities and more. Volunteers will receive instructions when they arrive and will be given complimentary shirts for their contribution to the marathon's success.

To volunteer or for more information:

Details subject to change

Happening Points

Marathon Day

The day of the marathon is an exciting day not only for the runners but for Jerusalem's residents and guests as well, who participate in the event to cheer on the runners and revel in the electrifying atmosphere in a unique city on this special day. Activities will be offered throughout the day at the starting point in Sacher Park and at various locations along the different routes throughout the city.

Sporting Events at Sacher Park
On the day of the marathon, Sacher Park is the main attraction and the entire area will take on a festive air in honor of the occasion. Runners and guests are invited to join some of Israel's best sports trainers in warm-up exercises, Zumba, aerobics and more; dance to the beat of the drums, and get great discounts on sports and athletic equipment including clothes, shoes and recreational products.

Events Along the Track

The International Jerusalem Winner Marathon is considered one of the most fascinating, exciting and challenging marathons in Israel and the world. The tracks take runners on a journey through Jerusalem's unique history, religion and culture, which varies from one neighborhood to the next. The race tracks pass by the site of King Solomon's first Holy Temple, through Via Dolorosa – the famous street that attracts visitors from all over the world, and many other fascinating sites. Activity stations will be located at various points along the tracks to entertain the crowds, spur on the runners, and boost the exciting athletic atmosphere in the city on the day of the race. Jerusalem invites you to cheer on the thousands of runners and enjoy a wide range of activities.

Recommended points for spectators:
Are you planning to cheer your runner? The runners will be happy to meet you at the following points:
Bezalel Junction Ben-Zvi Boulevard, Highway 1 statue near the water point, Plomer Square, Mishkenot Sha'ananim, Oranim Junction, Hamashbir plaza on King George Street, the entrance to the University of Mount Scopus, Armon Hanatziv, the Governor's Palace, Jaffa Gate, Cinematheque Bridge, Safra Square, the Railway Complex, Emek Refaim.
Come to cheer the runners, enjoy the atmosphere and participate in the festival!

Details subject to change

Warming Up

Coming soon - information on warm-up events for the International Jerusalem Winner Marathon 2019.

Details subject to change


Running and other stamina exercise – more tolerable alone or in a group? / Dr. Itay Ziv

Stamina exercise in general, and particularly running, can significantly improve various aspects of your life, including overall health, weight loss, cellulite reduction (dependent on other factors such as balanced nutrition), lower the risk of depression, reduction of physiological-functional age, enhancement of overall physical aesthetics, release of endorphins that improve moods, and more. In recent years, the number of runners has dramatically increased in Israel and around the world. This is evident by the hundreds of races held each year in major cities worldwide, including the International Jerusalem Winner Marathon, to be held this year for the fifth time.

Runners have the option of training on their own or in a group, and many people ask themselves which is preferable? Here are some points to consider before deciding whether to run alone or join a group of runners:
1. Solo running and loneliness
Long runs that last one hour or more can be difficult from a psychological perspective. When training for a marathon, runners will run two-three hours or more multiple times. Long-distance running is not for everyone, and joining a group may significantly improve your running experience.

2. Persistence and quality training
In order to improve aerobic fitness, runners must engage in quality training on a regular basis (such as interval training, fartlek, uphill, etc.). This type of training requires strong willpower and dedication, which many amateur runners struggle to gather. Also, solo runners may find it difficult to track their training programs. A professional trainer and training group can provide the setting necessary to motivate you to train properly.

3. Injuries while training and competing
Long-distance running can cause various injuries to the musculoskeletal system. Although runners will not necessarily suffer injury, the further they run on a regular basis, the greater their risk of injury becomes. There is a significant difference between a trainee who runs 80 km each week and one who runs "only" 40. Distances that exceed 60 km per week have been directly linked to an increase in prevalence of injuries. A professional running group trainer will plan training sessions and levels of intensity in a way that will minimize injuries. It is important to realize that injuries are not caused by running alone. Other factors that increase risk of injury include weight (heavy runners are more vulnerable to injury), incorrect technique, inappropriate footwear, and more.

4. Motivation
Running regularly, particularly long distances, requires constant motivation. Many runners succeed in running alone for years, without a training group, but persistence becomes difficult when attempting to run early in the morning or late in the evening. For example, it is much more difficult to run regularly at 6 AM or after 9 PM than at more convenient times of day. Therefore, when deciding whether to run alone or with a group, consider your level of motivation and your ability to train regularly.

5. Level of other runners in a group
Before joining a running group, look into the group's policy in case the runners in the group are at significantly different fitness levels. If there are large differences in capability, the training sessions will be less effective for both the weaker and stronger runners in the group. Also, runners who are less physically fit than other members of the group will struggle to keep up with the other members and increase their risk of various injuries.

6. Networking
An important advantage of running with a group is that many of the members may have other common interests, besides running. This can be an excellent networking opportunity for business owners. Recently, several companies even decided to hold meetings while walking in places like Central Park in Manhattan, in order to incorporate exercise into their employees' daily routine.

7. Personality
More reserved personalities may not enjoy running with a group and prefer to exercise alone. Running is one of the best forms of exercise for people who prefer privacy. On the other end of the spectrum are extroverts who prefer constant social interaction. It's best to try some of both in order to decide which option works well for you.

8. Cost
In larger cities you may find running groups that are free of charge, but the more professional groups that develop personal training programs can cost several hundred shekels each month. Take this into account before joining a running group that is considered exclusive. Also, there will be other expenses such as proper running shoes, dietary supplements, physical therapy (which may be necessary from time to time), and more. The advantage of solo training is that it is significantly less expensive. On the other hand, many running groups arrange discounts on clothing, shoes and dietary supplements at leading athletic store chains for their members.

9. Choosing the right routes
Another advantage of running with a professional group is that the trainer will know the best routes in the area, particularly in more challenging regions such as through forests, along the beach and more. The right training routes can significantly improve the running experience and help runners achieve their objects more easily and much faster than while running alone.

10. Safety during training
Running, and particularly long-distance running, involves various safety risks that must be considered, like running at night in unsafe neighborhoods, in the forest or on dangerous terrains. Also, injuries like twisted ankles are fairly common while running, especially in parks, dirt roads or on rocky terrains.
When deciding whether to run alone or with a group, try to take all of these considerations into account, but don't forget – the main thing is to enjoy yourself!

Dr. Itay Ziv (PhD) - specializes in physical exercise, sports and gyms and is the former assistant director of the Siim Athletic Training Campus at Tel Aviv University. Published the most comprehensive Hebrew-language encyclopedia on physical activity and workouts entitled Newfound Strength – Exercise in the Circle of Life. Along with Dr. Dror Sagi, he published a book on lifestyle and weight-gain, entitled Ideal Weight – Physical Exercise and a Balanced Diet, the Winning Combination.

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The Dietary Supplement that Will Carry You to the Finish Line /Gal Tzion-Por

As the International Jerusalem Winner Marathon approaches and training and nutritional discipline become increasingly vigorous, we have prepared a list of dietary supplements that can help you through the race and keep you at your best while they take you to the finish line. Before discussing the best supplements, I want to emphasize that people who have physically prepared themselves for similar races, felt great during the race, and reached their target performance, should not make drastic changes to their diet or routine before the Jerusalem Winner Marathon. But if you feel that you're demanding too little of yourself, want to beat your record time, or assume that there's always room for improvement, there are several dietary supplements that can help you.


Dietary supplements will only improve your performance with suitable nutritional support and proper training. Don't expect a dramatic 50% improvement on your performance. The difference will only be about 5-10%, but that can make all of the difference in your race times.

One of the most popular and heavily researched supplements in the last decade, proven to improve athletic performance and particularly aerobic exercise, is caffeine. This stimulant is found in natural form in over 60 types of plants around the world, including in leaves, seeds, kernels and fruit. Caffeine is available in two primary forms: as a component in food or drink, and as a synthetic supplement (known as caffeine anhydrous).

Studies show that caffeine anhydrous more effectively improves physical performance than drinking coffee or other caffeinated drinks. Nevertheless, coffee and other drinks that contain caffeine can improve performance but to a lesser extent.

Caffeine improves performance by combining the effect of caffeine on the central nervous system with its specific impact on the muscular system, while accelerating the process of creating energy from fat (instead of using glycogen).

According to most studies, the dosage of caffeine necessary to improve physical performance is 3-5 mg per kilogram of body weight. This means that an athlete that weighs 70 kg. will require 210-430 mg of caffeine before engaging in physical activity in order to improve performance. Dosages are individual, of course, and related to the athlete's regular caffeine intake, personality, intensity of training, and duration of physical activity.

Caffeine reaches peak level in the blood approximately 60-90 minutes after consumption. This means that it is best to time your caffeine intake so that it reaches its peak effect while you're in the middle of the race, or to divide your caffeine dosage into smaller portions and take them at different times during the race.

Strong espresso or black coffee can be used instead, but this will have only a minor impact on people who drink coffee regularly. Our bodies grow accustomed to caffeine and eventually, its influence is almost completely eliminated. One solution is to avoid caffeine entirely for one week before the race, and another is to use caffeine supplements available on the market. Isotonic drinks or gels that include caffeine or pure caffeine pills which contain much larger quantities of caffeine than a cup of coffee or espresso are safe for consumption and will affect runners who drink coffee regularly. The ideal timing for the first dosage of caffeine is approximately 30-45 minutes before the race begins. Note that many isotonic gels and drinks contain caffeine.

Isotonic drinks and gels
Let's begin by saying that isotonic drinks and gels are not mandatory for all runners. These products are helpful when engaging in physical activity that requires replenishments of fluids, carbohydrates and electrolytes. This is true for activities that last over one hour or those performed in hot, humid climates that cause rapid loss of fluids and salts. Isotonic products can also be helpful for athletes who did not consume sufficient quantities of carbohydrates and minerals before the race or competition.

Assuming that you've decided to use isotonic products to improve performance or recovery after physical activity, how should you choose the best product? What is important to consider? Here's some information that can help you decide:

Carbohydrate quantities – It is important to consume carbohydrates during extended physical activities, as glycogen stores that fuel the muscles tend to deplete, which can reduce blood-sugar levels. Studies show that in order to improve performance, athletes require isotonic drinks that contain 0.5-1 gram of carbohydrates per kg of body weight, every hour, depending on the intensity of the physical activity. Most isotonic products contain the quantities necessary to improve performance, and there are no significant differences between brands.

Carbohydrate concentration – To prevent the extra carbs from weighing too heavily on the digestive system and causing discomfort, while still consuming enough to be effective, their concentration in the drink should range between 4-10%. Most isotonic products on the market today contain an average carbohydrate concentration of 6-8%, and therefore are equally recommended.

Electrolyte quantities – This category is somewhat problematic as it is difficult to estimate the quantity of minerals that an athlete loses while exercising. It depends mostly on how much the athlete sweats and urinates. But comparisons between the various available products did not reveal any significant differences between them. The majority contain similar quantities of sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium. Some include vitamins C and E as well, which are antioxidants that can help recover after exertion.

Types of carbohydrates – Significant differences were found between the various products when assessing this category. Older isotonic drinks use glucose as the primary carbohydrate. Glucose is consumed by the body at a rate of approximately 1 gram per minute. Even consuming large quantities of glucose does not increase the consumption rate. More recent studies have shown that combining glucose and fructose (sugar derived from fruit) results in better utilization of carbohydrates during physical activity. Another combination also shown to be better utilized by the body is between simple carbs (glucose and fructose) and more complex carbs such as maltodextrin or starches (amylase and amylopectin). Complex carbohydrates delay release of glucose into the blood, and therefore help balance blood-sugar levels over time. The new generation of isotonic drinks indeed combines various types of carbohydrates in order to better utilize them during physical activity.

Protein supplements - – Significant differences were found between the various products when comparing this category as well. Some isotonic drinks contain whey isolate protein. This type of protein is absorbed and digested quickly without causing discomfort and rapidly raises amino acid concentration in the blood. Studies show that supplementing the carbohydrates in isotonic drinks with proteins can help delay fatigue more effectively than carbohydrates alone.

Some high-quality supplements contain antioxidants that fight the free radicals that are formed at accelerated rates during extended, intense aerobic exercise. Free radicals are molecules or atoms with unpaired electrons. This state is generally chemically instable, and therefore radicals easily participate in chemical reactions.

Free radicals move freely within our bodies and can cause damage to our cells. They are produced during normal, routine physiological processes such as exercising, eating, smoking, exposure to exhaust emissions and more. In addition, accumulated damage caused by free radicals can result in chronic diseases, infections and even cancer.

Studies show that increased oxygen consumption during physical activity can cause an increase in free radical production, making people who engage in physical exercise more vulnerable to the damage that free radicals can cause. Antioxidants offer protection against the negative impacts of free radicals. Antioxidants can "contribute" their own electron to the free radical, and thus neutralize its effect, leaving both the radical and the substance itself in a stable state, with an even number of electrons, and unable to damage the muscle.

These products are suitable for people who engage in intense physical activity on a daily basis, those who take medications or steroids that impact the liver, individuals who consume large quantities of alcohol, aerobic athletes, and people who do not consume sufficient quantities of fruits and vegetables.

One type of antioxidant worth looking for is Q10, which helps protect the myocardium. This is a powerful antioxidant that can destroy free radicals before they cause harm by protecting the DNA and the cell walls. In addition, it plays a key role in producing energy in the cells. As the myocardium consumes large quantities of energy, the highest Q10 concentration can be found in that muscle. Studies show a strong link between heart failure and lack of Q10. People who engage in physical activity and exert these muscles more than the average person will benefit from Q10 supplements that protect and strengthen the heart.

Electrolytes (salts) – Salt capsules
During extended aerobic exercise (over 90 minutes), the body may begin to lack important minerals such as sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium. Hot weather and high humidity, inadequate nutritional preparation, and extended, intense training, increase the risk of mineral deficiencies. Salt capsules are one way of replenishing minerals that are lost during training. Salt capsules can be consumed during extended physical exertion (like running a marathon), or at the end of shorter physical activities.

The minerals that tend to be depleted while exercising are responsible for:
  • Contracting and relaxing muscles
  • Normal myocardium function
  • Proper fluid balance
  • Nervous system function
  • Building and breaking down bone tissue

BCAA – Branch Chain Amino Acids
Three amino acids of type BCAA (leucine, isoleucine and valine) constitute approximately 40% of the total amino acids that the human body needs to build proteins and other amino acids. Unlike other forms of amino acids, BCAA do not pass through the liver after being absorbed. Instead, they reach the muscle and kidney tissue directly, where they are used to build proteins and supply energy. Physical exercise causes BCAA concentrations in the muscle to decline. The assumption is that they are used as a source for glucose or ATP production during physical exertion.

In addition, leucine has been proven to be an anabolic amino acid, and the primary one used to construct new proteins.

BCAA may help reduce protein break-down in the muscles while exercising, as reflected primarily by a decline in the CPK enzyme. Some studies showed that consumption of BCAA during extended physical exercise can delay fatigue of the nervous system (most likely by reducing serotonin levels in the brain), and reduce muscle fatigue as well (by conserving glycogen), though these findings are still inconclusive.

Good luck!

Gal Tzion-Por – Clinical and sports dietician, lecturer on nutrition and dietary supplements. Professional director of the ISRAELBODY chain, which provides nutritional consultations for athletes. Founder of the FIT YOU workshop for better nutrition and training.

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Growing stronger as you go / Avichai Soroka

The Jerusalem Winner Marathon, Israel's largest international running event, is quickly approaching and the number of trainees and their enthusiasm are growing just as fast. The months prior to the marathon are spent burning thousands of calories, losing fluids and recruiting the mental effort necessary to persist, improve performance, and prepare for an exciting, enjoyable athletic experience.
Running is a way of life for many runners and any kind of pain that they feel while they run immediately raises questions of whether the sensation is normal and how to prevent the next injury. Many risk factors are involved in all kinds of sports, and particularly running, including the quality of the track, weather conditions, and geography, to name only a few of the external risks that can be mediated by designated training programs, drinking plenty of fluids, and constantly remaining alert while running. Internal risk factors include agility, recovery rates, muscle strength and posture. Some of these factors are more significant than others, and researchers continue to debate the ultimate formula for avoiding injury.

This article will discuss the strength component, which has been shown to have a significant impact on improving performance and preventing injury. Weakness and lack of muscle balance can increase the chances of injury. The assumption is that the more we reduce rotational and frontal force (which work sideways) while running, a skill that occurs while advancing straight and forwards, the more we can reduce recurrence of injuries caused by overuse or increased repetitions during long runs. In the past, it was believed that the up-down strengthening strategy was more effective at reducing unwanted forces while running, but recent studies actually emphasize the importance of strengthening the body from the ankle and moving upwards.

Another assumption is that the more the pace increases, the more active the ankle muscles will be while running. It is important to note that the ankle, knee and thigh all absorb significant force upon impact with the ground and enable runners to push forward.
The purpose of this article is to discuss overuse injuries, namely those caused by increasing pressure combined with inadequate recovery techniques. In addition to a strengthening program, all beginning runners should schedule an orthopedic examination with a physical therapist that specializes in sports in order to try to identify potential risk factors. The most common injuries among runners include pain in the frontal part of the knee, ITB syndrome (inflammation of the lateral bands in the knee as a result of rubbing due to poor posture or to weaken knee control), various ankle injuries, and inflammation in the inguinal region and in the exterior of the knee.

An exercise program designed to strengthen the lower limbs is recommended in order to improve performance and prevent recurring injuries. Some begin these programs for marathon runners at the beginning of the running season, while others incorporate it at different times during the season, during the "down times" between races. My recommendation for short and medium-distance runners is to strengthen their lower limbs regularly, approximately twice per week before your shortest runs. Incorporate exercises that will strengthen the core muscles, which are part of the muscle structure that covers the hip bones and spine, in order to improve your running quality and avoid injury.

Below are several recommended exercises. They have been photographed at the Medix Center for Advanced Orthopedics, and are demonstrated by Anat Eyal, a trainer at Medix.

1. Lunges –Strengthen the front and back thigh and the buttocks:
Stand in lunge position with one leg in the front and one in the back, while keeping your back straight. Bend both knees as you lower your body in order to maintain a vertical line and keep your knee steady to prevent it from collapsing inwards.

2. Hip lifts – Strengthen the buttocks and rear thigh muscles:
Lay on your back with your knees bent. Place a fitball under your legs if you like. Contract the buttock muscles and lift your hips while exhaling. Relax your neck and use your hands for support.

3. Distance the thigh on one leg:
Stretch your torso and move your thigh sideways, stretching it against a band placed around your bent leg (hold your knee steady at all times).

4. Plank:
Static contractions of the abdomen while leaning on your arms, contracting your stomach muscles tightly to avoid collapsing onto your lower back. For a more advanced exercise, alternate leaning on your right and left arms.

5. Lifting heels while standing:
Place the front half of your foot on a step, lift your heels upwards and then allow them to sink deeply back downwards.

6. Standing on one foot on an unstable surface:
A mattress, dome ball, or other unstable surface with your knee bent. The knee should be faced slightly outwards and the hips should be horizontal to the ground. Stand still for 30-60 seconds, preferably with your eyes closed.
We recommend four sets of 15 repetitions of each exercise. Perform them slowly, and pay attention to your posture and breathing.
Most of the exercises can be performed outdoors, but the advantage of performing them in a gym is that you can gradually increase the burden and increase their impact. Your muscles should feel fatigued at the end of the series and eventually, when an exercise becomes too easy, you can increase the intensity by adding weights, bands or other accessories that offer greater resistance.

Wishing you a safe, enjoyable race!

Avichai Soroka - is a physical therapist that specializes in orthopedic and sports injuries at the Medix Center for Advanced Orthopedics. He is the accompanying physical therapist for the Israel Tennis Association and a PhD student involved in spinal research at Tel Aviv University.

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Common Athletic Nutrition Mistakes / Yafit Galilee in collaboration with the Israel Marathon

Yafit Galilee (MSc) is a clinical dietician and physiologist. Works in Collaboration with the Israel Marathon

There are three aspects to every training program: training, nutrition and recovery (sleep/rest). Most athletes prefer to spend more time and effort on training than on planning their diet and making the right food available to them. The more intense the training becomes, the more important nutrition becomes in achieving objectives (increasing athletic performance, reducing body fat percentages) and avoiding injury. Therefore, it is important to note some of the most common nutrition mistakes that athletes make:

1. Postponing meals after exercising
While exercising, various hormones are released that depress sensations of hunger. The increase in body temperature also contributes to this phenomenon. As a result of lack of hunger and the desire to limit calorie intake, people often avoid eating after exercising. This causes recovery to be slower due to lack of optimal utilization of the muscle for energy storage (carbohydrates) and increased metabolism (destructive processes), which raise the risk of injury. In addition, postponing eating will cause increased energy consumption during the 24 hours following exercise and result in incontrollable eating patterns – escalated sugar cravings and binge eating. Even if the athlete can exercise the necessary willpower and control to avoid this type of compensation, as a result of the double stress inflicted (due to the workout and lack of food), the body may reduce metabolism rates to become more efficient.

2. Inadequate carbohydrate consumption
Carbohydrates is the source of energy that enables the muscle to maintain steady performance rates over time. A trained individual that consumes adequate quantities of carbs can double or even triple the carbohydrate stores in the muscle and improve athletic performance. Many athletes with rigorous training schedules struggle to consume sufficient quantities of carbohydrates and energy. Many other people gradually limit their carbohydrate intake, assuming that this will help reduce body fat percentages. In both cases, lack of carbohydrates can result in muscle fatigue and even damage, and less effective training. Intense exercise with a depleted store of carbohydrates will cause the muscle to use the protein that constructs it as a source of energy, thus destroying the muscle itself.
In addition, insufficient consumption of complex carbohydrates as part of the daily diet can often increase sugar cravings and result in binge eating.

3. Insufficient food consumption during extended training sessions
When a training session lasts 70 minutes or longer, it is important to fuel the body with additional energy 45 minutes into the session and every 20-30 minutes after that. Otherwise, catabolism may occur and performance will decline. Keep in mind that the nervous system, i.e. the brain, relies on a supply of sugars. Therefore, a decline in blood sugar levels will inhibit the system's performance.

4. Avoiding eating after a nighttime exercise session
Fueling muscles takes approximately 20 hours. People who exercise at night do not have enough time to fuel their muscles properly and allow them to recover after a night's sleep. Therefore, it is crucial to eat after completing a nighttime workout and if possible, to eat again two hours later before going to sleep.

5. Insufficient drinking
Although this seems obvious, it remains a challenge for so many people. Water, water and more water. Water constitutes 75% of muscle, and of the body overall. General function and optimal muscle function depends first and foremost on hydration. Many people drink plenty of water before and after exercising, but not throughout the day. It is important to be fully hydrated when you start exercising and to measure your body mass before and after the session (under different training conditions) in order to find out how much water you lose under different circumstances and to be sure that you replenish the lacking fluids.

6. Failing to eat enough before morning exercise
What you eat in the morning before exercising depends on the type of exercise and the time that elapses between the moment that you wake up and the beginning of the exercise session. The type and quantity of food that you will need before riding your bike, for example, differs from those necessary before running or swimming. If you run, you have to consider impact, and if you swim, you must take into account that the body will be in horizontal position that inhibits digestion. In all cases, a meal after a night's sleep is necessary and it is important to gradually get your digestive system accustomed to optimal eating patterns.

7. Discomfort in the digestive system
Quantities of food – You should not feel hungry or stuffed when you start exercising, therefore it is important to eat in small quantities every three hours. A person who does not eat enough in the morning will eat a very large lunch, then skip a mid-afternoon meal and be starving when beginning an evening workout. Another factor to consider is the type of food that you eat. Avoid fatty foods before exercising (tahini, avocado, almonds and nuts, for example), which take hours to digest.

8. Eating processed food products
Energy bars, protein snacks and gels are part of the dietary routines of athletes, who often consume these products throughout the day, not only before and during training. It is important to focus on healthy foods (fruit, homemade cakes) and limit uses of gels to simulations only. Also, during long races it is recommended to combine gels with fruit and cake (when running ultra-races, runners will eat sandwiches and other foods as well).

9. Non-diversified meals
Failure to diversify your diet can result in a lack of nutritional components that are crucial for optimal function in general, and particularly during exertion. It is important to diversify the sources of all of the food groups (proteins, carbohydrates, fats, fruits and vegetables) in order to provide your body with all of the macro and micro nutrients that it needs.

10. Insufficient consumption of good fats
Fats from vegetable sources are usually healthy and crucial for various physical functions. Sometimes, either in an attempt to reduce body fat percentages or due to lack of attention, many people do not consume sufficient quantities of this type of fat.

11. Consuming quantities of energy that do not suit personal exercise routines and the demands made of the body - This problem is typical of people who develop highly intensive training programs and those who are trying to lose weight or reduce body fat. Insufficient sources of energy can cause overall fatigue, muscle fatigue, and slow recovery after exercising.

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Marathon for Life/ Michal Yaaron

Life, like a marathon, is full of ups and downs, difficulties and opportunities, success and failure.
How did it all begin, you ask? It all started in Greece in 490 BC, or at least that’s what legend holds.
The story tells of Pheidipepides who was sent from a city called Marathon to Athens to declare the Greek victory over the Persian Empire.

The distance between the two cities was great, specifically 42.195 kilometers, and Pheidippides fell down and died as soon as he arrived and made his declaration.
Since then, marathons have become representative of life itself in many ways. They are full of challenges and difficulties, excitement and satisfaction, which are all integral elements of human life.
As runners, how can we endure these 42.195 kilometers? It is very simple. We gaze upon life and draw the inspiration that we need to carry us along the race track.

Here, we have collected several tips that can help you overcome any psychological, emotional or physical challenge, and put a smile on your face even during the genuinely excruciating moments of the marathon.
  • You’ll pay later for mistakes that you make early on
  • Don’t be surprised when it hurts, just breathe straight through it
  • Dictate your own pace and don’t let yourself be drawn into a pace that you didn’t originally plan, even if you think that you can handle it easily
  • Think positive – focus on your favorite songs, people that you love, an encouraging code word
  • Don’t focus on when it will all end. This can be very frustrating and make the journey seem longer
  • When you feel like you can’t go on any longer and you’re only halfway there, remind yourself that you’ve already covered half of the distance
  • If you’re struggling, you must be moving upwards
  • Acknowledge the pain. It may even become a friend and ease up a bit
  • Even if it becomes unbearable at times, remember that in an hour or in a day, it will all be behind you
  • If it seems impossible, that just means that you haven’t done it yet
  • Most importantly – if it really hurts, you have to work harder!

And if all of these words of inspiration don’t help and you still want to quit, remember that “Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever” (it was Lance Armstrong who said that, not me…).
So now, as you approach the finish line, remember that “pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional” (Haruki Murkami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running).

Congratulations and good luck!

Michal Yaaron, Sports Psychologist, Director General of La’uf. Michal is a pioneer in the field of sports psychology in Israel. She holds an MA in cognitive psychology and group moderator; and has worked with competitive athletes, managers and teams for many years.

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Running all the Way to the Marathon/ Manny Shahak

Preparing for a marathon? Is running an integral part of your daily routine?
In this article, you'll find all of the tips and advice that you need to successfully run a marathon, and while you're at it – win the race and beat even yourselves!

The Jerusalem Winner Marathon is the largest international marathon in Israel. All of the participants are a little bit different than everyone else; they are different kinds of runners. You might even say that Jerusalem Marathon runners are braver and more mature than most. Why do I say that? For the simple reason that unlike runners in other marathons in Israel, like in Tiberias or Tel Aviv, and even in other places around the world, people sign up for the Jerusalem marathon for different reasons. Anyone who registers for this marathon does not plan on setting a new personal record. This is rarely a first marathon for runners and very few even think of coming in first place. Those who arrive come to win a personal competition – to beat themselves; to overcome the insanity and inner demons; to conquer the hills; and most importantly – to overcome doubts and fears.
The Jerusalem Winner Marathon is different from all others. It requires a different type of preparation – both physical and emotional. Runners must adopt a different approach to setting goals and to their methods of achieving these goals. It takes restraint on the one hand not to "attack" the inclines, as many often do; while on the other hand it takes maturity and inner peace to make it possible to actually "enjoy the view and absorb the atmosphere".

From a professional perspective, there are several things to keep in mind about the Jerusalem Winner Marathon:
  • When running marathons on flat terrains, it is very important to find a comfortable "drifting pace" to maintain throughout most of the race. When the track is full of climbs and descents, this becomes difficult and even impossible. You have to plan the race differently. You must train your body to accommodate frequent changes to the strain on your muscles and to changings pulse rates.
  • Weather – Unfortunately, weather is unpredictable, and there's no way of knowing several months in advance what the weather will be on the day of the marathon. One year the weather can be cool and pleasant enough to run comfortably as planned, while other years it may be cold, with rain or even hail. This will spontaneously change your race plan, slow you down when running downhill and around curves, force you to take smaller steps, and to race wearing suitable clothing. These are only several examples of the changes that you'll have to make if weather becomes a significant factor on the day of the race.
    Even if the race is held in normal weather conditions and without rain, keep in mind that low humidity and a dry climate (not related to precipitation) causes better sweat vaporization, but also increases loss of fluids in various systems in the body (epidermis, cardio-vascular system). Therefore, don’t count on your sense of thirst and make sure to drink at regular times or intervals.
  • Complementary physical training – All standard marathon training programs must include routines for strengthening the muscles that support the strain of long-distance running (the cardiac muscle is also strengthened through training). In marathons with many hills like the Jerusalem Winner Marathon, strengthening these muscles becomes critical for coping properly with the strain of the race and avoiding injury. Uphill running requires coping with gravity and running at an angle, which we are generally not accustomed to doing. As a result, our body uses different muscles that are not activated when running on flat ground. The strain on the shin and thigh muscles is much greater when running uphill. Also, while running on a flat terrain places 3-5 times the strain on the relevant joints, running downhill significantly increases that strain. Although most runners are more concerned about running uphill, they should place a greater emphasis on running downhill. Improving running techniques and strengthening the muscles that are involved are crucial for running the marathon successfully and avoiding injury.

If you're preparing for the marathon, make sure that you are aware of some important training principles.
I'll list them here briefly, with specific references to the Jerusalem Winner Marathon and the modifications that should be made to standard training programs for this particular marathon, compared to flat-terrain races:
  • Strain-recovery ratio - A critical condition for a successful training program is to maintain the right ratio between the strain of training and the recovery that follows it. If too much time passes between training sessions, the systems in our body will not be stimulated enough to reach the improvement that we hope to achieve in a structured training program. On the other hand, too much strain without enough recovery time will not allow our body tissue to recover from the trauma that it absorbs during training. This means that in the best case scenario, performance will not improve as expected, while in the worse and more likely case, you will eventually suffer some kind of injury. Uphill and downhill running can cause much more damage to tissue and muscles than running on flat terrains, due to the significantly increased strain on the body while running uphill, but particularly by the effort of curbing ourselves while running downhill. Therefore, it is important to emphasize sufficient recovery time between training sessions that incorporate running up and down hills (though it is recommended to incorporate easier runs on flatter terrains in between).
  • Gradation - There is nothing new here, even for the Jerusalem Winner Marathon. It is extremely important to follow a moderated training program that involves gradually and carefully increasing strain. After increasing intensity levels for several weeks, it is important to lower the level a bit in order to allow the body to recover properly before continuing to increase strain over the following weeks.
  • Specificity - While this is not the most important principle for most training programs, it is of upmost importance when training for the Jerusalem Winner Marathon. Although this isn't the time or place to go into a detailed explanation of how exactly a training program should be designed based on time periods, principles and type, it is important to practice running uphill and downhill, and to incorporate hills into different types of training in order to be prepared on the day of the marathon. There is a clear advantage from a mentality perspective for people who trained properly and know how their body and soul will handle inclines, descents, and even an uphill stretch followed by another climb. There is also a clear physiological advantage, as the muscles and joints and other systems in the body have adapted to running on a track that incorporates varying gradients.

After all is said and done, it is important to note that people who decide to run any marathon, particularly the Jerusalem Marathon, must understand the extent of physical effort required to train properly, as well as the emotional availability necessary for a training period of this kind. It is highly recommended to consult with a professional that knows how to support and guide each individual towards achieving personal goals, and not to depend solely on training programs that can be easily found online. Remember, the most important thing is to accommodate the training program to suit the runner and not the runner to the program (and in this case, to the specific marathon – the Jerusalem Winner Marathon – which requires special preparation).

Wishing you the best of luck!

Manny Shahak – Head trainer and running club manager, BA and MA from Wingate Institute; running trainer certified by Campus Siim; Athletics and fitness trainer certified by Wingate Institute; active athlete and long-distance runner; founder of the running club in Shoham, with over 70 trainees.

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Choose your Running Shoes- The Complete Guide/ Nir Yoels

Looking for running shoes that are the perfect fit? It turns out that this is not as simple as you may think.
The shoes that you choose will have a significant impact on your comfort, performance and overall running experience.
Before you go out shopping and spend money on the wrong shoes, follow this guide to find out what to look for when you buy professional running shoes that are just right for you.

There are several important parameters to consider, when choosing professional running shoes:

1. Type of feet: In order to select the best shoes, consider the physical structure of your foot. For example, are they wide or narrow? Neutral or pronated?

2. Purpose: Before you can choose the right shoes, define the purpose that they will serve. Will you use them for running or walking? Will you need them for the gym or for marathon training, outdoor running, races or functional training? Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll be able to choose the shoes that best suit your needs.

3. Size: The right shoe size is crucial, especially when buying professional running shoes. Make sure that there’s enough room to move your toes inside the shoe (about a half-size bigger than usual, as the blood vessels in the foot tend to expand while running). Keep in mind that sizes differ between models and brands.

4. With all due respect to fashion, the most important thing is for your shoes to feel comfortable and fit you like a glove.

5. The most suitable shoe is the one that meets the majority of your needs and professional requirements, but the reputation of the company that manufactures them is another important consideration.

6. It is recommended to purchase your shoes from an authorized reseller who can provide service in case of imperfections or problems with the shoe.

7. If you have any questions, talk to a professional consultant at a leading sports shop.

Choosing shoes
The running shoes available on the market can be divided into several categories. Understanding these categories will help you make the right decision:

Road-running shoes – Shoes that are designed for distance-running provide support and shock-absorption, with varying degrees of suspension* and drop**.

Terrain shoes – Shoes designed for running on rough terrains. The upper section of the shoe is more durable (does not tear easily when coming in contact with rocks and other objects) and features more aggressive shock protection in order to last longer and suit different types of outdoor conditions. The sole of the shoe is stronger, to improve the overall running experience.

Racing shoes – Lightweight shoes for runners who want to run lightly and quickly. The shoes weigh less and are made of lighter materials using innovative technology. Racing shoes are perfect for track racing and for speed. The thin soles increase response time, making these shoes the perfect choice for experienced runners who prefer speed over comfort (low drop** shoes).

Studio shoes – Shoes that have been shaped and designed for people who train in a studio. The shoes have flexible, soft and lightweight soles for maximum mobility, and feature contemporary, innovative designs. The sole is not necessarily designed for outdoor running.

Functional training shoes – A minimalist or low-drop** shoe that keeps the trainee close to the ground. The shoe is designed with an exceptionally strong upper section to accommodate training needs such as kicking and rope climbing, and incorporating running in the training program.

Support shoes - Shoes designed for people with flat-feet. The shoes feature shock-absorption just like running shoes, though the inner shoe is shaped differently. The shoe protects the foot from collapsing inwards and is usually marked with a different color or seal on the collapse region.

In conclusion, remember that each person was born with a unique foot structure and different needs for a shoe that fits perfectly. Before you buy shoes, it is highly recommended to learn and consider all of the features of your foot structure so that you can choose shoes that offer the best support, stability and performance, especially if you’re planning on wearing them in a marathon.

*Suspension – softness of shock-absorbers
**Drop – The ratio (incline) between the heel and the innermost point on the foot

Nir Yoels - Professional consultant for NB.

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The Ten Commandments for Marathon Training/ Manny Shahak

You most likely decided to run the Jerusalem Winner Marathon in 2015, but that year has come to an end and 2016 is already here. The marathon seems closer than ever. You’ve already registered, unless you’re one of those last-minute people, and chances are that you’ve started training. So what now? It’s actually very simple - just sit back and enjoy the ride. What does that mean, you ask? Well, over the next couple of months, you have a single goal and that it to stick to your training program (or at least do your best)! When all is said and done, the most significant predictor of your performance on the day of the marathon is how well you’ve prepared. Did you follow a gradual, well-planned training program that maximized your skill and timing, or not? There are many different contributors to your ability to stick to an effective training program, including your family’s support, pressure at work, previous injuries and any other reason that might come up for missing a training session.

On the other hand, keep in mind that when it comes to running a marathon, there are no explicit rules. No one can guarantee that you’ll finish the race or feel like a million-dollars on the starting line. But if you follow a training program for 4-5 months before the marathon and obey all of the rules, your chances of success will be extremely high. And most important, you’ll be able to enjoy the race and reach the finish line without injuries.

What are the important components of a good marathon training program?

1. Nutrition – A balanced diet is an important part of your training program. The energy demands that you place on your body while training, especially during long-distance runs, require different nutritional consideration than usual before and after the training session (for optimal recovery), and occasionally even during the session. Follow a personalized menu, designed based on the individual needs of every runner. It is recommended to consult with a dietician who can help plan a menu that meets the body’s nutritional needs during the training period. This will improve your times, help you attain your goals, and can even help prevent injuries. Remember that in addition to carbohydrates, fats and proteins, your body will need extra crucial vitamins and minerals that you can consume either as part of your designated diet or from food supplements (consult with a professional dietician on this issue as well).

2. Clothing – Choose suitable clothing during the training period so that you can be sure to be able to focus fully on the race itself. If a certain piece of clothing is uncomfortable or scrapes against you, it’s best to find out while training and not during the marathon itself. It is highly recommended to schedule a “dress rehearsal” before the race, wearing the clothes that you plan on wearing at the marathon so that you can make any necessary adjustments, as needed.

3. Shoes – The right running shoes will contribute greatly to your performance. For several hours during the race (and during a significant part of the training period), your shoes will become an integral part of your feet, and that’s how they should feel. Running shoes may wear out during training. If you need new shoes for the marathon, try to buy the same brand and model. Now’s not the time to experiment…

4. Sleep – One of the most important factors is sleep. Our bodies recover, build and refresh themselves while we sleep, and therefore a good night’s sleep is crucial during an intense training period. It can improve the quality of your training, and allow your body to recover in order to prevent injuries and heal from previous ones. Try hard to get enough sleep while you’re training for the marathon, and especially as the big day approaches.

5. Learn from experience – It is highly recommended to consult with people who have run the Jerusalem Winner Marathon before, and learn from their experiences. A good piece of advice can significantly improve your running experience and your chances of succeeding. Try to avoid individual pieces of advice like training methods and diets, and instead focus on tips and recommendations on how to conserve your strength during different segments of the marathon.

6. Therapy – Many amateur runners assume that regular physical therapy or sports therapy is for professional runners only, but the truth is that they are mistaken. Any person undergoing intense training places much more stress on their muscles and joints than the average person, and therefore require appropriate treatment for those muscles and joints. The last thing that anyone wants is to miss the marathon because of a minor injury that didn’t heal properly due to neglect or attempts to run despite the pain. Proper treatment every 2-3 weeks, and more frequently as the race approaches, can determine your ability to meet your goals and safely reach the finish line.

7. Positive environment – I heard this tip in a lecture by Lornah Kiplagat, world champion half-marathon runner, at a conference held in Israel last December. Kiplagat told us that while training for a race, she tries to avoid cynical people who think negatively and instead, surrounds herself with positive, optimistic people that make her feel more confident. Emotional preparation is just as important as physical preparation for a marathon and should not be underestimated.

8. Individualism – Training programs must be designed to suit each individual runner and take personal considerations into account, including the runners’ jobs, marital status and availability, previous injuries, pre-training fitness levels, and anything else that can have a positive or negative impact on their ability to succeed. Training programs must be customized to suit the runner, and therefore it is recommended to avoid the generic training programs that are available all over the internet, as they can easily result in injury. It is recommended to consult with a professional trainer, either privately or in a group (if the group shares a common goal), to prepare an ideal, well-structured, gradual training program that will maximize your capabilities and help you reach your goals.

9. Priorities – Once you decide to run a marathon, your priorities will have to change. Your chances of success depend directly on your ability to stick to your training program and to follow the recommendations for nutrition, sleep, treatments, etc. In order to make the most of this training period, inform the people around you of your intentions and create a supportive environment for yourself; one that is aware of how important this is to you. This way, your training period will be remembered as a pleasant, positive and empowering time for everyone involved.

10. Training program – I left the most important item for last. Although I emphasized the importance of the training program multiple times throughout this article, I would like to somewhat retract from what I said before. While sticking to a training program is very important, it is not recommended under certain circumstances. Do not train if you are sick or if you have sustained a severe injury – at least not before consulting with a physician. And most important, don’t try to make up for a missed training session by increasing intensity or training twice in one day. This can be dangerous and less effective than a single, quality session. Missing a training session or two won’t make that much of a difference, overall. You don’t fall out of shape that easily and it will not impact your performance (if you’re aiming for a specific target time). This is also why it is important to train in a professional setting (privately or in a group). The fact is that if you’re not fit to stand on the starting line because you didn’t pace yourself properly, all of those months of training go to waste. But by following the training program to the best of your ability and paying attention to your body’s signals and limitations as you train, you’ll improve your chances of meeting your personal goals.

Good luck to you all and remember – where there’s a will, there’s a way!

Manny Shahak – Head trainer and running club manager, BA and MA from Wingate Institute; running trainer certified by Campus Siim; Athletics and fitness trainer certified by Wingate Institute; active athlete and long-distance runner; founder of the running club in Shoham, with over 70 trainees.

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A Race for the Soul/ Speedy Segev

Of all of the many races held in Israel each year, the Jerusalem Winner Marathon stands out by far.
In addition to the uplifting spiritual experience of running in the holiest city in the world with its breathtaking landscapes and challenging routes, this is a vibrant, well-organized and powerful event. When taking into account the winter weather conditions and the growing number of runners who arrive from all over the world each year, this marathon is a true cosmopolitan experience.
If you find that the challenging Jerusalem topography is too demanding for a full marathon or if you’re still recovering from the Tiberias Marathon, the Jerusalem half-marathon is a great alternative.
And still, though the Jerusalem half-marathon is more challenging than most of the races that I’ve run over the years, I consider it to be one of the best and most enjoyable ones.
I fell in love with the Jerusalem Winner Marathon five years ago. You can call it “love at first race”. I enjoyed the competition so much that I decided to make it an annual tradition and during the subsequent years, I even ended the race on the age-podium several times.
To help you prepare for the race, I put together a list of some important tips based on my experience which I hope that you will find helpful.

1. The hilly terrains make preparations for the Jerusalem Winner Marathon somewhat different from training programs for other half-marathons that you may have attended. As a runner who loves uphill climbs, hills are a crucial part of my weekly training program. The steeper the hills during training, the better prepared your body will be for the race.

2. Those of us who are not from Jerusalem and will be racing for the first time should make at least one trip to the city for a practice run along the marathon route. Though you’ll be running in the street during the marathon, stay on the sidewalk while training for your own safety.

3. Study the map of the route in advance and plan your pace based on its topography. This will help you prepare for the inclines without burning yourself out early on in the race.

4. Try to arrive at least two hours before the race. The closest parking lots fill up quickly and you will have no choice but to park in one of the more distant lots. It’s a good few minutes’ walk from the Haleom parking lot to the gathering area at Sacher Park. It will also take some time to get to the starting area located on the opposite side of the park, going towards the Knesset.

5. Be prepared for cold weather, and even very low temperatures and rain. You may need gloves, a warm hat and even earmuffs. Make sure to wear running shoes with a good grip so that you don’t slip on the slick Old City streets.

6. The beginning of the race is relatively flat, and runners often start off quickly, but several kilometers past the starting line is a long, uphill climb. So pace yourself and don’t burn yourself out too soon.

7. In cold weather, runners tend to drink less during the race. But remember that you’ll sweat despite the cold and that the race may take longer than a half-marathon on a flat terrain. Fluids are just as crucial in Jerusalem as anywhere else so don’t miss the drinking stations along the track.
Also, runners tend to burn more calories in cold weather, so make sure to replenish your stock of carbohydrates before and during the race. Whether you prefer gels, dates or anything else, your body will need a good supply of energy.

8. Don’t over-exert yourself when running downhill. Most runners tend to use the momentum to gather speed while in fact, lack of proper technique can place an extra burden on the quadriceps muscles. Also, locking your knees while running downhill shifts most of the load from the pavement to your back which certainly isn’t healthy.
Keep in mind that speeding downhill will increase your pulse and can burn you out later on. Set a pace that is just slightly faster than when you run on a flat terrain, but without exhausting yourself. Relax your arms and hands, take longer strides, lean forward slightly, and try to moderate your steps (avoid stomping).

9. Towards the end of the race, around the 18-19 km mark, I recall a long, steep hill that can easily burn your remaining energy, if you’re close to your limit. Try to maintain a drifting pace (just over 80%) so that you feel comfortable when you begin the climb. Keep in mind that the length and timing of this hill will make it feel endless. But don’t worry, take a deep breath, calm your body, keep your head up (not down) and set your gaze on the top of the hill. Set a pace that you can maintain all the way up and stay determined.

10. When you cross the finish line, take a deep breath, breathe a sigh of relief and smile. Look around you and take in all of the color, excitement and energy of this event. You have just completed a difficult race. Congratulate yourself and promise yourself to be there again next year for the experience, the challenge and the soul.

See you at the race and good luck to us all!

Speedy Segev Appelbaum - 46 years old, from Raanana, is an experienced athlete and Wingate-certified running trainer for all levels – from beginners to marathon runners.
Speedy Segev has over 16 years of racing experience in running and cycling as a former elite competitor.
Today, he is regarded as one of the most versatile and prominent runners in his age group.
He specializes in running on challenging terrains.
Speedy’s articles appear in leading sports websites such as Marathon Israel and more

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Tools for overcoming and coping with physical and mental difficulties during a marathon\ Manny Shahak

There is a saying claiming that running is 80% in the head plus 20% - in the head... I agree with this saying, but to a certain extent... If the body is ready, that is, the training program was carried out and completed, the preparations were completed without major injuries or pain that can prevent you from reaching the starting line, then everything really is in the head…
To get through a long and challenging run such as a marathon, a course where one can experience a range of feelings and emotions, starting from magical optimism at the 15th km to gloomy pessimism at the 34th km, there is one important thing that must be maintained – E.M.U.N.A. (F.A.I.T.H in Hebrew – translator):

E. Responsibility – once you stand on the starting line, you must take responsibility for the run. Do not allow yourselves to be dragged to thoughts involving various factors that may have an effect: the terrain, track density, pains or injuries and the weather conditions. Tell yourself that all of these were taken into account while making the decision to participate in the marathon and during the months of preparation for it. Your responsibility is now to be up to the task you have set for yourselves, and you must not run away from it, so that you will be satisfied with the outcome of the challenge you are facing – for better or for worse. Sometimes winning and sometimes learning…

M. Positive Thoughts – as stated in the previous article that was published, try to surround yourselves with positive people showing optimism towards you and towards the goal you set for yourselves. Go over all of the preparations you have undergone, all of the km you have run, all the other races on the way, the good training that made you feel good and satisfied, the less successful training you tried to learn from and improve on in the future and say to yourselves – all this brings you to the starting line in one state – ready!!

U. Giving up – a small word with big meaning. On the one hand, giving up the ego is recommended. It is very easy not to resist the starter’s pistol and run at a pace you are not accustomed to or that you did not plan to run in during the race, and then in practice put a spoke in your own wheels preventing you from finishing the race (did someone say “wall” ??). Try to do exactly the opposite, begin at a relaxed pace, maybe even a little slower than planned, let the body gradually get into the race and then proceed to the planned pace. Bypassing the runners who did not do so and now you are starting to pass them, will also give you a positive boost of energy to continue. Another meaning of the word giving up – critical in the world of running and in the marathon world in particular – is not to give up!! As stated in the beginning, if the preparation was done properly and the body is ready, then only the head can trip you up and you must not let it do it, remember: Pain is temporary, success is forever (paraphrase to a Muhammad Ali quote) – this does not mean ignoring an injury that could endanger you, on the other hand, one must not give up just because it is a little bit hard or a little painful. You came to run a marathon – you did not expect it to be easy... Try to set interim goals, according to km, according to coordinates on the way or according to anything else that works for you. Try to remind yourselves why you wanted to do it in the first place and try to escape to thoughts and imagination. Your legs will work automatically at some point. Just remember to wake up every now and then to make sure you are going according to the race plan you have set for yourselves.

N. Determination – during a marathon there is a lot of time for thought and internal dialog. To keep the determination that will allow you to finish the race, and successfully, you must remember and remind yourselves that you have already done the hard part, and all that remains now is to reap the rewards. Remember all of the incline training you went through, the interval training you have finished with your tongue hanging, the running in the freezing cold or pouring rain and especially the simple training, that seemingly was not hard at all, but that you did not want to go to, and you went anyway... determination then pays off today!

A. Proper preparation – prepare properly for the marathon day itself. Do not leave any detail to the last minute. Prepare a list of equipment in advance and make sure everything is ready a few days beforehand, so you can complete any shortages if necessary. Do not try anything new that you heard from a friend or a seller on expo (this is not the time for experimentation!!), no clothes, and certainly no food. Imagine the course and go over the important points, study the map and plan ahead the rest stops and most importantly – remember to have fun. If you did all you could properly, then all that is left is to run, have fun, smile to the cameras and burn the memories in your mind. This is your day, believe in yourselves and remember: “If you run – this is no fairy tale!” (pun on famous Hebrew saying – translator).

Good luck!

Manny Shahak – Head trainer and running club manager, BA and MA from Wingate Institute; running trainer certified by Campus Siim; Athletics and fitness trainer certified by Wingate Institute; active athlete and long-distance runner; founder of the running club in Shoham, with over 70 trainees

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Foreign runners flocking to Jerusalem Marathon

From The Times of Israel

Despite ongoing terror threat, international athletes signing up en masse for one of world’s toughest runs

Despite Israel’s current security situation, foreign runners registered for Jerusalem’s March marathon have more than doubled to 754 this year, up from 301 last year.

here are 5,384 runners registered for the Sixth Jerusalem Marathon, scheduled to take place on March 18. At this time last year, 3,911 were registered. With less than two months to go before race day, that’s a 150-percent increase in the number of foreign runners preregistered so far, according to marathon coordinators.
Runners will flock from all over the world, including Uzbekistan, Argentina, Hong Kong, Austria, Singapore, Turkey, the United States and Switzerland
“The number of applicants who have registered so far for the marathon indicates that Israelis and tourists are not allowing terrorism to paralyze the city or their daily routine,” said Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

Last year’s winner was Ethiopian Tadesse Yaee Dahbi, who completed the 42-kilometer route in two hours, 18 minutes and 20 seconds. Dahbi was one of 25,000 people who participated in the race.

Currently, 60 Chinese participants plan to compete in this year’s marathon.

Runners in the shorter race options — 10 km, 5 km, 1.7 km “family” and 800-meter run — make up nearly half of those already registered, with an estimated 1,835 competing in the half marathon and 910 in the full.

Coordinators expect an additional number of hand cyclists to complete a route of 8.5 kilometers.

Barkat said he believes that the Jerusalem Marathon is incomparable to any other 26.2-mile dash.

“I can say with full confidence that the run in Jerusalem is the most exciting, and it combines breathtaking views, inspiring fresh air and a challenging route,” he said. “There are lots of marathon runners who are looking for this challenge, which is like no other marathon around the world.”

The full marathon begins at the junction between the Knesset and the Israel Museum, and snakes through Mahane Yehuda market toward Ammunition Hill. Runners will circle the Mount Scopus campus before racing through the Armenian Quarter, and then alongside the City of David and the First Station.

The winner will break the finish line at Sacher Park, along with 10-km runners who will start three hours later.

Registration to the Jerusalem marathon 2017

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Sixth annual Jerusalem Marathon: A runner's tour of Israel's capital

from The jerusalem Post

The marathon's courses highlighted some of Jerusalem's distinctive historical sites and the race is considered particularly challenging due to the Israeli capital's rolling terrain.

the sixth annual JerusalemMarathon, that kicked off on Friday morning, attracted 25,000 participants from Israel and the international community alike.

The marathon's courses highlighted some of Jerusalem's distinctive heritage sites and the race is considered particularly challenging due to the Israeli capital's rolling terrain.

Runners traversed historical sites, including the Knesset, the Old City, Sultan’s Pool, Mishkenot Sha’ananim, Mount Zion, the German Colony, Rehavia, Ammunition Hill, Sacher Park, Mount Scopus and the Mount of Olives.

Runners from Israel and dozens of other countries are registered for the event, which was divided into seven segments: a full marathon (42.195 km.), a half marathon (21.1 km.) and a 10,000-meter race.

In conjunction with the full marathon, several shorter distance tracks also took place, including a 1.7 km "family run."

In response to the recent wave of terror that has plagued Israel, over 1,800 Border Police officers and private security personnel were on hand during Friday morning.

Despite an elevated risk of terrorist attacks, a record-setting 30,000 people from 62 countries arrived at the startline of the annual Jerusalem Marathon, including Mayor Nir Barkat.

The number of runners in the race Friday was slightly higher than the previous record of 26,000 in 2015, despite the fact that it is taking place at a time of frequent terrorist attacks, Army Radio reported. Foreign participants numbered 2,400 — a new record for the event, which is taking place for the sixth consecutive year.

Flanked by a group of runners from Africa, Barkat, wearing the Jerusalem Marathon official orange T-shirt on the startline, told Army Radio that the city had not considered cancelling the event because of the attacks.

“Through the greatest of trials, Jerusalem does not cancel events,” said 56-year-old Barkat, a jogging enthusiast and former officer in the Israel Defense Forces Paratroopers Brigade. “It’s part of our message. We will carry on as usual.”

More than a quarter of 155 terrorist attacks documented in February occurred in Jerusalem — more than any other city in Israel, according to official data from the Israel Security Agency, or Shin Bet.

Some 2,400 runners outside Israel registered for this year’s race, more than double the number last year and an all-time record both in terms of the number of countries represented and the number of foreign participants.

Countries represented include Uzbekistan, Argentina, Hong Kong, Austria, Singapore, Turkey, the United States and Switzerland. Sixty runners registered from China alone. Last year, Tadesse Yaee Dahbi of Ethiopia won the race, completing the route in 2 hours, 18 minutes and 20 seconds.

Registration to the Jerusalem marathon 2017

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Running for the greater good

from The Jerusalem Post

Groups helping disabled children, new olim to race in Jerusalem Marathon.

For marathoners, the only thing more enjoyable than a runner’s high is running for the greater good.
Among the 25,000 athletes from more than 60 countries participating in Friday’s sixth annual International Jerusalem Marathon are a gamut of runners hoping to raise awareness about a cause near to their hearts.
While not all of them are jogging in the marathon itself, opting instead for the less strenuous half-marathon and 10K races, their common denominator is tikkun olam (healing the world).

Among marathoners with a cause is Jerusalem resident Gabe Pransky, 35, who created the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel’s Shira Pransky Project five years ago to honor his wife who died of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2009 at the age of 26.

Pransky has recruited 80 runners who have raised more than $25,000 for Team Shira, which works with the AACI to aid English-speaking olim in navigating the country’s healthcare system, and ensure they get the timely help they need.

“When I introduce the project to anyone who has made aliya, I get a reaction almost immediately, and it’s always four words: ‘Wow! That’s really important,” said Pransky. “I have a very positive outlook on the healthcare system in Israel, and I think we have amazing resources here. I just think it’s a tragedy when people are not aware of the resources available to them,” added the Philadelphia native.

To raise money for his cause, Pransky uses the group’s website to feature images of Team Shira’s runners, which donors can click on to make a contribution.

As of Wednesday night, he said Team Shira raised $25,475.

“I love our team because we get a great mix of people – a lot of people with an emotional connection to Shira and her story who are proud to be part of her legacy,” he said.

“That group blends together with a group of people devoted to the cause, and to me that represents what I wanted to accomplish.

I wanted to memorialize Shira, but the way I wanted to do that was to help the community with something positive coming out of our experience.”

According to Pransky, the inspiration for this project came during his numerous reflections on the struggles that he and Shira faced during her illness, and the realization “that there were many more avenues of support that had not been utilized out of poor awareness.”

Noting the many challenges English-speaking olim in Israel face, Pransky said it was important to him to ensure improved accessibility to support programs by promoting awareness and helping service providers reach the people that need them most.

“This is a vulnerable immigrant population that is often overlooked when those in the support sector attempt to address awareness and accessibility,” he said, adding that the project “wants people to understand the system before a personal crisis hits.”

“We can make navigating the system less intimidating when it matters most by improving the awareness of all English-speaking immigrants, not only those who are already struggling,” added Pransky.

Meanwhile, Daniel Weininger, a 27-year-old counselor at the gap-year program the Hevruta Partnership in Global Jewish Learning and Leadership, said he and 30 students are running to support the organization Makom L’kulam, which champions the rights of disabled children.

Makom L’kulam, meaning “a place for everyone,” was founded in 2010 by Yair and Nechama Cohen, both of whom have volunteered for years to raise funds to aid families of children with disabilities.

Hevruta, a collaboration of the Shalom Hartman Institute and Hebrew College, is “the first fully integrated and balanced gap-year program for North American and Israeli student leaders from a diverse range of Jewish backgrounds and perspectives,” according to its website.

Makom L’kulam’s mission is to “bring about a change in society’s perception of people with disabilities through education and culture,” which Weininger said complements the lessons students at Hevura are learning.

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“Hevura’s main components are shared living, learning and community service, so we wanted to run in the marathon for Makom L’kulam,” he said.

“By us, literally getting outside of the classroom and participating in fund-raising for this organization for the marathon, we are, as Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said, ‘Praying with our feet.’ We’re really committing to what we believe in by helping others.”

Weininger said the group has raised $1,000 for Makom L’kulam, half its stated goal.

For the third year, volunteers from the Jerusalem police department will be running in the marathon together with disabled children from ALEH Jerusalem, founded in 1982 by parents to provide their severely disabled children with the best healthcare available.

ALEH’s residential facilities, located in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, Gedera and near Ofakim, provide more than 700 children and young adults with specialized services including residential living, medical care, rehabilitative and therapeutic treatment, special education, vocational training, and social and cultural activities.

Roni Alsheikh, the former deputy head of the Shin Beit (Israel Security Agency) and current chief of the Israel Police, said that he was so impressed by his officers’ volunteering for the program that he felt compelled to watch the final marathon training session earlier this week.

“This initiative with ALEH is tremendous,” he said. “Our role as police officers is two-fold: to serve and protect. It is important for us to remember that we are here to serve the citizens, and not just deal with the criminals.

It is our responsibility to provide services to citizens on the streets, as well as seek out opportunities to give back to the community. As police officers, it is our job to be model citizens, and lend a hand to the weakest members of society.

“Working with ALEH is the ideal project for my police officers in that it helps remind them who they are as human beings, and why they became police officers in the first place,” he said.

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The ageless challenge of the Jerusalem Marathon

from The Jerusalem Post

I find it fun to ask marathoners why they decided to do such a crazy thing. For me it was a combination of a challenge and a way of thumbing my nose at the Angel of Death.

Hey, I’ve got a great idea! I’m turning 60 this year... Why not run a full marathon – 42.2 km. – to celebrate? I’m still not entirely sure if it was a brilliant idea or an idiotic idea. My friends are divided between those who admire my athletic prowess and those who think I’ve lost my marbles.

I find it fun to ask marathoners why they decided to do such a crazy thing. For me it was a combination of a challenge and a way of thumbing my nose at the Angel of Death: “I may be 60, but look at what I can still do.”
But many of us find it impossible to lose a few pounds while training for a marathon, because you need so many carbs to keep you going.

I heard a great story from a fellow runner in Friday’s race (while we were running!)

Joshua Strahl had open heart surgery at Shaare Zedek in 2010. When he was recovering, a nurse asked him if he wanted a wheelchair to get over to the window. He said, “No, I’ll walk.” The window was his goal, and he made it to the window. He kept stepping up his goals post-surgery and has now run 18 marathons.

Training for any marathon is monumental challenge.

I’ve been a runner for over 40 years, but the difference in training for a marathon versus training for a half marathon or less is night and day. It’s an order of magnitude different in time and effort.

Training for the Jerusalem Marathon, in particular, comes with extra challenges.

First of all, there are the hills.

You don’t notice it so much in a car, but there is no such thing as “flat” anywhere in Jerusalem. As Psalm 125 says, “As the mountains surround Jerusalem...”

Back when the psalms were written, all of Jerusalem was inside the walls. Those “mountains” that “surround Jerusalem” are now where the modern city of Jerusalem exists.

An article in Runner’s World magazine describes the course: “... the most difficult urban marathon I’ve ever run.

My Garmin profile looked like an EKG: nothing flat, few straight sections and a total elevation gain/loss of around 2,300 feet.”

Hills aren’t the only feature you have to think about when running in Jerusalem.

There’s also the issue of “religious sensibilities.” Especially for women, running through ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods in shorts and a tank top is going to get some people upset.

The marathon course carefully avoids both religious and Arab neighborhoods.

And then there’s security.

One of the routes I like to run goes around the Old City. I always think of Psalm 48 when I circumnavigate: “Walk about Zion and go around her; count her towers.”

Unfortunately, since the latest round of stabbings started in October I no longer feel safe running in the vicinity of Damascus Gate. In addition to checking the weather before a run, I check the security situation.

The last few days before a marathon are a strange experience for the uninitiated. It’s sort of the “anti-diet.”

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Marathon runners talk about a “wall” that many people hit sometime after 30km.

Your body runs out of glucose, and your pace falls off and nothing you do will get your body moving faster. One way to avoid the wall is to stock up on carbs. So for a few days before a marathon, at the same time that you cut way back on running mileage to let your body rest, you start eating a diet that’s 85-90% carbs, and a lot of them. Beer, by the way, is a favorite among many distance athletes – you get carbs and hydration in one convenient package! Race day, Friday March 18, dawned with perfect conditions for a marathon. Temperatures at the start were around 8C – cool but not cold.

With all the road closures, the logistics of getting to the start can be complicated. Fortunately, Katherine and I have motorcycles, so we were able drive right up to the Israel Museum and park 100m from the start.

With 42 km. to cover, the marathon is a great tour of Jerusalem: both the Givat Ram and Mt. Scopus campuses of Hebrew University, residential neighborhoods, the Old City (in Jaffa Gate and out Zion Gate), Emek Refaim, the First Station, Haas Promenade.

At 24 km. in – a point at which many runners first start feeling the distance – you cross Gei Hinnom, a.k.a. “Hell.”

Running a marathon will introduce you to your body’s weak spots if you’re not already familiar with them.

For me, it’s my hamstrings.

For Katherine it’s her knees.

They especially bother her on the downhills, so she quipped, “I bet I’m the only runner here who looks forward to the UPHILLS because they feel so much better.”

I definitely did not look forward to the uphills, and I was wondering what kind of sadists the course designers were – including two significant hills in the last 4km of the race. That’s just mean! Finishing a marathon is a feeling unlike any other. The sense of physical accomplishment, relief that it’s over, while at the same time physically hurting everywhere is unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced. And once the race is over, it’s important to do more carb loading to restore your systems – and having burned over 3,500 calories, you feel entitled to eat whatever you please! Mimosas over lunch are a great way to rehydrate and restore carbs at the same time.

The writer is a rabbi and businessman who lives and runs in Jerusalem. He’s looking forward to running the New York Marathon in November.

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Jerusalem Marathon creating hope from hatred in a divided city

from Stuff

"When you run our streets," says the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, "you are actually running where kings and prophets walked and ran 3000 years ago."

From the steep ascent of Mt Zion to the golden dome of the Temple Mount, from the Mount of Olives to the 11th-Century ramparts of the Old City, the Jerusalem Marathon is billed as one of the great running experiences in the world.

The event came about thanks to the desire of Barkat to see a world-renowned running event which conformed to the international standards in his hometown.

At a press conference the day before the marathon, Barkat, a keen runner and former special forces soldier, explains how he experienced the unifying effects of the Berlin, Boston and New York marathons, and spotted an opportunity.

The vision took off, attracting 10,000 runners in its first year in 2011. Although, the first race didn't completely go to plan, with the three leading men's runners veering off course and ending up at the wrong finishing line.

This year's event helped to build a bridge between the two separate communities: Arab and Jewish, communities living on either side of a deeply divided city.

This year, Arabs living in the divided east of Jerusalem took part in their home city's marathon, largely thanks to the efforts of Israel Haas.

Haas is the founder of Runners Without Borders, a running club which brings young Arabs and Jews together, to try to bridge the ever increasing gap between the two cultures.

With separate schooling systems, languages, and segregated neighbourhoods, youngsters on either side of the religious divide grow up with barely anything in common.

So giving youth on both sides of the divide the chance to cast off the shackles of hatred through running is healthy for more than just fitness.

Speaking over lunch the day before the Jerusalem Marathon, Haas say: "We are not aiming to make peace. We are just aiming to connect young lives."

Haas explains that there is an imaginary line between east and west Jerusalem.

"It's completely two different cities within one place. No-one wants to deal with the Jerusalem divide."

The latest wave of violence across Israel has been dubbed the "Teenage Intifada" for the high number of youngsters involved in attacks.

When he began taking his programme into Arab schools in East Jerusalem, he found the children there had been largely forgotten about by the outside world.

So he began pairing up Jewish and Arab teenagers, the only condition being they had to fully commit: if the groups were social catchups rather than serious training sessions, it would collapse. "The glue that sticks us together is taking a professional approach to the training."

Participating in the run was about being recognised as equal residents living in Jerusalem.

Jewish teenager Shoshana Ben-David set up a female Running Without Borders in 2014 after seeing racism and violence rise amid the soaring tensions of that summer.

Growing up in Jerusalem, Shosana had no Arab friends. Now she helps put groups of Arab and Jewish teenagers through their paces around the streets of Jerusalem.

It's not just the political and national barrier between Jewish and Arab teenage girls, she says.

There are also major cultural hurdles within the more conservative Jewish and Muslim societies, with many not even allowing girls to leave the home after school let alone run in public.

Shosana has blogged about how the running group meant Arabs and Jews got to know each other's cultural and religious backgrounds.

When a night run coincided with the first night of the Ramadan, they created their own race in Jerusalem a week earlier.

"We believe that despite all the violence going on in the city done by extremist it is important to empower the voices of the citizens who want to live in peace together in Jerusalem."

Finding Jewish parents prepared to sign their children up has been challenging, with even those who believe in co-existence fearful. Jewish kids have many options open to them, Arabs few.

But for 70 runners from RWB who took part in the Jerusalem marathon, It was a life-changing experience, Haas says.

"You enjoy it and you celebrate it with your Jewish partner. This is the difference we are looking for, the life-long friendships."

This month Runners Without Border's interfaith event was chosen as one of "15 Religious Moments In 2015 That Give Us Hope For The New Year" by the Huffington Post.

The marathon is also providing a kind of therapy for victims of violence through NGO One Family Together, the biggest support group for victims of terror.

This year it had 300 runners, including Ayala Fraenkel, whose brother Naftali was one of three teens kidnapped and killed in 2014. An act that provoked profound grief, and unabashed vengeance by the Israeli government against Hamas.

Speaking after the race, One Family Together founder Marc Belzberg explains that going through a trauma can disconnect you from life.

"This is a part of the journey back. Celebrating together. Helping one another through the running."

For anyone looking to take part in the full marathon, the course is a challenging one.

Over dinner two nights before the marathon, the Tourism Ministry director-general Amir Halevi asks: "How long you going to run? It's not all about the time, you must enjoy the views."

When asked why New Zealanders should come to Israel, Halevi lists off the many sports events they hold each year, including a Bible marathon, which follows the route of many of the good book's most famous locations.

The prime selling point for Halevi was the water temperature in the Mediterranean. "It's 30 degrees, like a jacuzzi." Hard to compete with that.

The 42.2-kilometre race begins in the shadow of the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, then takes participants on a long loop around the Valley of Crosses. There's a steep ascent as you approach the Jaffa Gate, and the memorable sight of Israeli soldiers looking down from the ramparts of the walled city as Israelis sing their way through the narrow cobbled streets of the Armenian Quarter.

This year, more than 26,000 runners from 70 countries, came with Israeli flags, in Batman suits, one even dragged a 3-metre-long wooden crucifix with the words: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

The Jerusalem Post reports more than 2000 security personnel were on the job, but they blend so well into the crowds that you'd hardly notice they were there.

It's hard not to be swept up in the unbridled joy of Jerusalemites egging each other on with a shout of "Kol ha'kavod" (Hebrew for "way to go").

"I find this really uplifting," our guide Gabi Landau says. "No traffic, no problems, no politics."

The writer travelled courtesy of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.

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