Yesterday was the 30th annual Bet Shean Half Marathon (21.1KM) which I ran and completed in 1:49. It was my first time running in Bet Shean. What a great event!
This race is considered a favorite among Israeli running clubs since the terrain is mostly flat and the organization is top-notch. It is also considered a great warm-up to the Tiberias Marathon to be held in a few weeks from now (Jan 8).
Yesterday, Dec 11, 2008, over 1,200 runners participated on a windy day. The course is generally fast, the organizers make every effort to get runners off on a good foot. There were many registration tables, free coffee, crackers and fruit to make things go smoothly.
The only downside came after the race. Runners were required to return their timing chips and then receive a free race shirt along with a bag of ‘goodies’. The lines were incredibly long, and I waited over 20 minutes just to return the chip. Failing to return the chip would cost I think a 200 NIS fine (~$50 USD).
Nearly 10,000 runners lined the streets of Tel Aviv this past Sunday night as the Tel Aviv version of the Nike Human Race was run. The race began at Kikar Rabin (Rabin Square) and ended at the Sportek in Park Hayarkon.
The atmosphere was electric. The runnners were requested to wear the Nike red race shirts (with the number heat transfered), and North Tel Aviv looked like a sea of red shirts. The organization of the race was fantastic, although the water distribution along the route was a bit messed up. (Most intermediate to advanced runners wouldn’t necessarily drink at a 10k distance, especially at night).
The only spoiler was the incredible Tel Aviv humidity. Although the course was flat, this runner was about a minute or two off pace due to the high humidity. Likewise, the shear amount of bodies moving within the marked paths was nearly impossible to run your own pace without having to move latterally or to fly over the masses in front of you.
Here’s a photo of your’s truly crossing the finish line.
All in all, a big Kudos to Nike, the race organizers, Tel Aviv, and to my fellow 10,000 runners, for a wonderful evening.
Here’s the Nike Running website in Israel where you can get more information about this event.