Wix ate the first version of this post, so I had to rewrite it! Grrr!
Night runs are a popular race in Israel. They are typically more focused on having fun than running a fast time. Since the race is held in the evening, there are no noise violation issues, and the race can occur during the week. I've done the night runs in Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Eilat, and come to the conclusion that night runs are fun, but not necessarily worth the schlep.
Petach Tikvah is a large-ish city in central Israel that you probably will never visit unless you have friends or family living there. This isn't a dig at Petach Tikvah, it's simply a description of pretty much any suburb, ever. Lior and I happen to go to Petach Tikvah regularly because...you guessed it, he has friends and family who live there! Petach Tikvah is a short drive from Tel Aviv (depending on traffic) and I was looking for more races to run, so when I saw an ad for the race, I registered.
Spoiler: Although the course is nothing to write home about, this is one of the more fun night runs I've done!
Cost: 110 shekels for the 10K, 85 shekels for the 5K ($33.81/$26.13). Not bad.
Website: The website was in Hebrew and had most of the info I needed (see below).
Social media: There was a Facebook event for the race, where information was periodically added.
Updates/tracking: There was no live tracking for the race, which is standard. I received periodic emails with race info. Although I initially registered for the 10K and completed a 10K run the weekend prior to the race that went well enough, I decided I'd rather race a 5K than simply run and complete a 10K. I called the contact number listed on the race site, and was immediately transferred to the 5K, though I was informed that since race bibs were already printed, this couldn't be changed. Fine by me! The only bummer is that my race results were listed under the 10K, meaning that they were wildly inaccurate. I therefore don't have a chip time for the race, just my watch time. If I'd been going for a PR I would've been bummed, but since I wasn't, it wasn't the end of the world.
Time: 8:20pm. This gave plenty of time to get to Petach Tikvah after work.
Transportation to race: Lior drove, and he dropped me off at the park where the race started/ended. Thanks, Lior!
Packet pickup: The race site wasn't clear about day-of packet pickup, so I called my new BFF at the event site, who told me that yes, I could pick up my race packet anytime after 6:00pm the day of the race.
Race shirt: Another lovely blue Saucony running shirt!
Start/finish area: I didn't have major expectations, but this was actually great! The start/finish area was held in a park. A children's 600m race had just ended, so the park was filled with families hanging out and eating popsicles. It was fun!
After hanging out for a bit, it was time to enter the corral, so off I went. On the way, I saw this angel:
His shirt says, "It may be hard, but return and try again, never give up." So motivating!
The race started 10 minutes late due to road closure issues, but the MC kept peoples' energy high and the DJ played fun music, so it wasn't the end of the world.
Bag drop: Not sure if there was one, I didn't check.
Weather: Not too hot, not humid, with a light breeze. Basically perfect summer running weather.
What I wore: Since I didn't use the bag drop, I had to wear the race shirt on the run. I planned accordingly by wearing a tank top that layers well. The rest was standard--running shorts and a buff to absorb sweat/keep my hair in place/use as a face mask if necessary.
Course: The course was an out and back, which is great for minimizing road closures and also helps me mentally break down the race into chunks. The course itself was pretty boring, but the streets were wide and with the exception of the first few hundred meters, there was plenty of space to run.
My goal was to beat my recent 5K time of 28:08 in Herzliya, which I felt was doable. I try to run the first km of a race conservatively in order to save energy, but not this time! I was in it to win it --it being the race against myself, of course. I forgot my headphones at home, but luckily there were a few music stations on the course, and the DJs played great pump-up music, so I didn't have too much time alone with my thoughts.
As luck would have it, the race went by Lior's sister Renana's apartment, and she said she'd come cheer. Her apartment was around/just before the halfway point in the race, so for about half a kilometer I was able to distract myself by looking for her and trying to look like I wasn't dying. It worked! I saw Renana, waved and sped off...and then tried to maintain effort through kms 3 and 4. By the time I got to the last km I was tired but mentally still in it, and I managed to hold it together until the end! I crossed the finish line with a big smile on my face, and the race announcer said something along the lines of "wow, if she's smiling at the end of the race, you know she succeeded!" Damn straight! My watch read 26:58 for 5.01km/3.11mi, so I smashed my goal! Again, it was a bummer to not get an official clock time, but...that just means I need to race again!
Water stations: There was one water station on the course, but I skipped it.
Bathrooms: There were porta potties in the start/finish area, but nothing on the course.
Pictures: Free race pictures were provided! Sadly, my pictures weren't amazing, so I didn't download/save them.
Medal: Nothing to write home about, but at least the ribbon is customized to the event?
After I caught my breath I went to find Lior, and we met his parents at a nearby restaurant, where I got to eat chicken hearts! I know they're not everyone's cup of tea, but trust me when I say that they were very tasty. :)
If you live in the area and are looking for a fun summer race, I highly recommend the Petach Tikvah Night Run! I plan to come back next summer, and will hopefully set a new course PR. :)