30,000 Runners Flock to Holy City for Jerusalem Marathon

“Run ye to and fro through the streets of Yerushalayim…” Jeremiah 5:1 (The Israel Bible™)

More than 30,000 runners, including approximately 3,500 international athletes representing 65 countries, thronged the streets of Jerusalem on Friday, clogging traffic but giving the city a festival atmosphere on a cool, overcast morning.

Twenty-six year old Kenyan Shadrack Kipkogey won the Jerusalem Marathon, finishing the race in 2:17:36.

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“It’s not just a sporting event, it’s a spiritual event,” Mayor Nir Barkat told reporters ahead of the race Thursday. “We’re in the holy city of Jerusalem, running where kings and prophets walked, where the Bible happened.”

Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) groups had threatened to disrupt the event with mass demonstrations around the country to protest the arrest of a yeshiva student earlier in the week on charges of draft dodging, but police prevented protesters from reaching the site. In Jerusalem, 40 people were detained adjacent to the course of the marathon, while on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway police stopped three buses of ultra-Orthodox Jews on suspicion they were planning to disrupt the marathon.

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