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Kalaniyot 15K – February 14, 2020


Last year I ran the 10K of the Kalaniyot race, and it’s easily one of my all-time favorite races. The race is held in mid-February, during Darom Adom (Red South), when the Northern Negev Desert is blooming with kalaniyot (anemone) flowers. It’s beautiful, it’s a uniquely Israeli event, and it involves running. I love it!

This weekend, I needed to complete a 10 mile run, and since the race offers a 15K event (10 miles is 16K), I decided it was perfect!

Race Overview

Price: 100 NIS = $29. Not bad!

Website: The same as last year–had all the info I needed.

Publicity: If I didn’t like the Darom Adom Facebook page/already know the race website/decided to check if the event was happening back in December, I wouldn’t have known that this event exists. Again, it’s a shame because it’s such a fun race! Publicity: D-

Transportation: Lior drove. Happy Valentine’s Day to me!

Weather: Low 50s and sunny. Perfect running weather! I was a little chilly at the start, but sweaty by the time I finished.

Time: 7:40am The alarm went off at 5am, I made coffees, and we left the apartment a bit after 6am. We got to the race around 7:15, and after parking, I had 15 minutes to pick up my bib before the race started. Everything worked out perfectly!

Start/finish area: There was a tent with coffee and snacks, some stands selling gear, and a face painting stand. Unfortunately, I didn’t arrive with enough time for face painting…oh well!

Packet pick-up: Held in the start/finish area, it took two minutes.

Race shirt: Again, no shirt, but this time, I got a buff! A buff is a tube of fabric that people wear around their neck, head, arm…whatever. If you’re religious it can be a head covering. I wear mine as a headband, partly to cover the top part of my forehead, partly to keep flyaway hair in place, and partly to absorb sweat. Basically, this is super useful and I will use and treasure this buff for a long time–including at my next marathon!

What I wore: T-shirt, shorts, sunglasses, buff

Bag drop: Not available, but since people have to drive to the event, it’s not an issue.

Course: The race is run on roads and trails around Shokeda Forest. It’s mostly dirt trails with some areas reinforced by concrete. Some of the dirt paths were a bit soft due to recent rain, and I felt the ground dive a bit…Towards the end of the race, the trail is particularly uneven. Basically, it’s a light trail race and I don’t recommend it for a PR. EVEN THOUGH THAT’S WHAT I DID! But I chalk that up to marathon training and speedwork, as well as the fact that I do not run a lot of 15K races…in fact, this is my third. If I ran the 10K, I do not think my time would have been a PR contender.

The 15K started 20 minutes before the 10K, and the way the course was set (the 15K had an out and back portion towards the beginning), it rejoined the 10K around the 6K/11K point in the race. Toward the end, I was picking up the pace (when I race smart, like this time, I run the first half of the race a bit slower than the second half) and passing a LOT of people, most of whom were running the 10K.

Anyway, I finished in 1:28:13, which is my new 15K PR! And even better–my watch measured the corse as 9.5mi, which is 15.28km–unlike last year, the course wasn’t short!

I’d be remiss to not mention the beautiful scenery. We ran past fields and forests, and the kalaniyot were in full, beautiful bloom!

Water stations: Spaced regularly throughout the course, and staffed by friendly volunteers. One of the stations even had dates, but I was all set with my Shot Bloks.

Bathrooms: Only at the start/finish area, but we were by a forest, so in theory there was always a bathroom nearby…luckily I didn’t need it!

Pictures: There were several photographers on the course, and pictures were available for free the next day!

See?! So many pretty kalaniyot!

Hot air balloon!

Plus I had my own personal photographer for before/after, and at the finish line, where he caught a picture where it looks like I’m levitating:

Medal: Small and cute!

In Conclusion

The Kalaniyot Race is still my favorite race in Israel, and I’m glad I got to spend it with my Valentine. 🙂

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