Where & When:
Tel-Aviv, Israel, February ’17
I’d heard a lot of positive things about Tel-Aviv from friends. It certainly lived up to expectations. Something that I really felt straight away was safe and welcomed. Everyone was so friendly. There was a good vibe in the city for marathon weekend. You could sense it was a big day for the city and those keen runners!
Why I ran this course:
Remember that friend who talked me into the Nohtaram? Yep, it was him again. In training for his Iron Man 70.3 he was heading to Israel with his Wife and was going to do the Tel Aviv marathon. So I tagged along. I like going on other people’s holidays with them.
Starting in the Hayarkon park and heading up the coast to Tsukei Aviv before turning back and along the sea front and down the Marina towards Jaffa Old town. The route then ran back up through the heart of Tel-Aviv and the city centre before finishing back in Hayarkon park. Mostly flat and scenic along the coast.
Pretty good. A standalone marathon race, the pre-race exhibition, pack collection and morning of the race was all straightforward and hassle-free. There was an abundance of free food and drink available at the finish line which was very much welcomed. A little shitty that you have to pay for the bag storage at the start though! Unsurprisingly locals just throw old clothes away in the park.
A good turn out from the city with lots of enthusiastic support along the route. It gave the day a good atmosphere.
Thankfully I was still pretty much in condition from Bagan so training was pretty minimal this time. Come the morning of the race we walked the 6km or so to the starting point. An unnecessary warm up really! We decided to run together, this being Daryl’s first official marathon. Entering the marina area after about 13km, you start to feel the vibes from the city and it was good to receive some early support from Daryl’s patient wife Brigita.
We carried on and I felt pretty comfortable as we chatted along most of the first part of the race towards Jaffa. I was keeping an aye on the pace (I had a watch now!!) and we were on course for a 3:30 finish providing we maintained the momentum we had. As the half marathon and 10km races started to merge onto the route (I think around the 30km mar) it did start to get very busy on the route and congested in parts. We got separated in the crowd and I decided to carry on with that aim of hitting 3:30.
A sprint finish saw me coming in just in time. I needed to sprint as I’d forgotten about the 0.2 mile at the end. You think I’d be familiar with the distance by now wouldn’t you! Daryl wasn’t far behind.
Pretty damn good in my eyes! Besides the now expected free T-shirt, medal and local product samples, there was a re-usable water bottle and a sports micro-fiber towel all included in a colorful drawstring bag. Good job Adidas!