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Race Preview: Tel Aviv Half Marathon

It’s race week, meaning that in a few days, I’ll be running the Tel Aviv Half Marathon!

This race is one of the larger running events in Tel Aviv, and includes a marathon, half marathon, 10K, 5K, and children’s races. As I mentioned here, I prioritize centrally-located events, and this is as central as it gets. I registered for the half marathon two years ago but sadly had a schedule conflict. This year, I’m excited to finally run a half marathon through the streets of Tel Aviv!

In addition, whenever possible I love to run larger races. I miss the energy of NYC races, where I get to share the course with thousands of runners, and cheering spectators line the streets. The fact is, Israel is a small country, meaning that proportionately, races aren’t as large. Therefore, I’m excited to take advantage of this opportunity, in my new home.

One main benefit to participating in a large-scale event is the English website. Although the organizers did not translate everything into English–notably the details for the marathon-themed film festival, I’ve enjoyed reading most of the information in English.

Race Preparation

My race preparation is…lacking, to say the least. I had plans for an exceptional training cycle, but ended up being a lazy bum. During this “training cycle,” I completed two long runs: a 12km run, and a 21km run–the Dead Sea Half Marathon. Definitely not my strongest race prep…

Goals for this race

My goals for this race are:

  1. Complete the race

  2. Not injure myself

  3. Have fun!

  4. Hopefully run a 2:15 half

Given my lack of training, I’m going to do my best to swallow my pride regarding my finish time. I plan to run many more half marathons, so there will be plenty of opportunities to chase a new PR (personal record).

Packet Pick-Up

I almost always prefer to pick up my race packet prior to the event. During race week, the organizers are giving participants not only several days to pick up their race packet, but also several locations. The added convenience is a nice touch! Participants were required to choose their pick-up location prior to the event, and the process was easy. My only regret is that I chose Dizengoff Center, a giant behemoth of a mall. This is a central location, but I struggled to find the packet pick-up area. Once I finally managed to collect my race materials, I was then directed to the Nike store, to collect my race shirt. There was insufficient signage, and if I have the option in the future, I will not pick up my race packet from Dizengoff Center, unless I’m with a group who knows their way around.

Race Packet

My race goodies came in the following bag:

bag race bag running swag race

Seems like a decent quality bag!

Inside the bag, in addition to a thick pamphlet, I found the following:

The stickers are nice…but I was disappointed that they didn’t include any Elite Turkish coffee (the sticker in the lower left), which is the only coffee I drink in Israel. Give me my caffeine! The energy bar looks good, and I’ll definitely eat it on race day morning. The giant package of tuna is probably the weirdest thing I’ve ever received in a race package…but at least it’s useful?

I was curious to see the race shirt, and it looks decent:

While I appreciate that they chose a unique color, I wish the shirt was a bit darker/less see-through.

Because I put an overly-ambitious estimated finishing time, I was assigned a red bib, meaning that I will start the race at 6:15am…so much for sleeping!

I have two more chill runs scheduled for this week (so I can hopefully get the adidas Runners shirt on Sunday!), and then it’s race time!

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