If you enjoy long distance running then you will be pleased to hear that there are plenty of opportunities to keep the hobby up while on your gap year in Israel. In addition to a few major marathon events, there are plenty of smaller long distance runs as well.
If you’re based in Tel Aviv then you may be able to take part in the Tel Aviv Night Run. While this isn’t a full length marathon, it is a 10 kilometre run, around 25,000 people take part each year and it is something that you can easily find the time to train for while on your gap year. The event is somewhere between a race and a party with a huge number of people turning out to cheer on the participants and loud music blasted along the route to help keep you going to the finish line.
Don’t worry if you’re spending the year in Jerusalem as the city has its very own Night Run. In Jerusalem there are two courses offered, a 5 kilometre course and a 10 kilometre course. As a result, many amateur runners take part and the route is spectacular. It will take you through the holy city and while there are a number of hills involved, the atmosphere is something special.
If you want something a little more serious then there are full-length marathons in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and a few other cities around the country. The Jerusalem Marathon is several events rolled into one. There is a full marathon, a half marathon, a competitive five kilometre race, a popular five kilometre race, an 800 metre community track and a hand bike race. The full marathon course is quite challenging but the route will take you past a number of landmarks including the Old City, the Knesset, the Machane Yehuda Market and Mount Scopus.
The Tel Aviv Marathon is a similar event but it also offers a kids’ mini marathon. The advantage of Tel Aviv is that it is far flatter than Jerusalem and this of course makes the course slightly easier. Tens of thousands of people take part in the event and the course takes you down the coastline as well as through the city’s main streets.
There are a few other marathons in Israel each year including one in the desert near Eilat and one in the city of Tiberius in the north of the county. The Tiberius Marathon is actually Israel’s longest running marathon and it is technically the lowest marathon in the world, at 200 metres below sea level.
If you want to try something a bit different then you should look into the Natal Colour Run. It is a charity event that aims to raise awareness of PTSD in Israel. It is open to runners of all levels with courses of various length on offer.
A great thing about Israel is that running is something enjoyed by a large cross section of society so you can take part whatever your level and be sure of having a great time.