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The Best and Worst of Israeli Races: 2018-2019 Edition

Since I’ve officially ended my Israeli racing season (I think the season opens sometime in September, though there are some races during the summer for people who are crazy enough for that), it’s time to compare and see which races were the winners, and which should go home and think about what they’ve done. Drumroll…

category is: prettiest/most interesting course

Winner: Dead Sea Half Marathon and Jerusalem Marathon 10K! Sure, the course for the Dead Sea Half Marathon was almost the same for 21.1km…but I wasn’t complaining! The scenery is absolutely breathtaking. Honestly, it’s the only main selling point for this race. If you’re looking for a beautiful (albeit challenging) city race, I highly recommend any of the races in the Jerusalem Marathon. No pictures, from the race, because I need to step up my blogging game…

Runners-up: Kalaniyot 10K, Tel Aviv Half Marathon, Tel Aviv Night Run Running through kalaniyot/pretty fields is always a delight! I loved running a half marathon in my new home, and knowing the route made the distance feel less intense. The Tel Aviv Night Run is a party, and anybody who lives in Tel Aviv and doesn’t run the race is missing out.

Epic Fail: Eilat Night Run and Haifa Half Marathon I ran alone for so much of the Eilat Night Run, so the whole party vibe that’s supposed to come with a night run was lost on me. And I finished just under 1 hour, so I know there were other people still on the course! As for the Haifa Half Marathon…running over half the race on a deserted highway is just depressing.

category is: best crowd support

Winner: This is a tie between my boyfriend and the kids who volunteer at the water stations. Seeing my boyfriend as I’m about to cross the finish line always makes me feel amazing. And he always tells me he’s proud of me, no matter how slow I run. Now that’s true love! I’ve never felt so proud as when I’m riding the struggle bus through a water station, and some kids yell alufa! (champion!) at me as I shuffle through.

Runner-up: Tel Aviv Night Run It doesn’t win, because crowd support was half-hearted at best, but since the race is held in the evening/after work, there are at least people on the streets to stare/sometimes cheer you on.

In short: Don’t expect a lot of cheering from the sidelines, unless you’re at a water station or you bring a cheer squad with you.

category is: best medal

Winner: Kalaniyot 10K and Jerusalem Marathon 10K

It’s a pretty flower medal to celebrate the emergence of spring. If you don’t love this medal, you have no soul.

jerusalem marathon medal race 10k swag

I like that this medal is very clearly Jerusalem-specific, beyond just including the municipality’s logo.

Runners-up: Tel Aviv Night Run, Tel Aviv Half Marathon, Ra’anana 10K

tel aviv night run medal

The Tel Aviv Night Run medal is glittery, so it is a solid #2.

tel aviv half marathon runner medal

When I saw the picture of the Tel Aviv Half Marathon medal I was underwhelmed, but that changed to a feeling of pride when it was placed around my neck!

ra'anana medal race 10k

I had very low expectations for the Ra’anana 10K medal because I couldn’t find any pictures from previous years, and the other small/local races I’ve run have had pretty underwhelming medals. So when I received a spinning medal with year-specific branding, and some color, I was impressed.

category is: Best race shirt

Winner: Givatayim 10K and Ra’anana 10K

Seriously, these shirts are cut very flatteringly, in a nice color, and there are no dumb logos. I love them!

Excuse the shadow…

Epic Fail: Any shirt that’s unisex–Ramat Gan Safari Run, Home Run 10K, Eilat Night Run.

category is: best port o potties

Winner: Dead Sea Half Marathon …because this is the only race where I actually found on-course port o potties that were useful (as in, not km18 of the Tel Aviv Half Marathon)…

Epic Fail: Every other race. Sure there were always port o potties (or indoor bathrooms) at the start area. Sure, most of the races I ran were 10Ks in urban areas, where I could have gone into a gas station bathroom, if necessary. I’m glad it was never necessary.

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