The Jerusalem Winner Marathon held in Israel's capital is one of the most unique marathons in the world, combining history with a challenging racing experience. The various tracks trace 3,000 years of history in this fascinating city that is holy to the world's three monotheistic religions. Tens of thousands of runners, representing different religions and countries from all over the world participate in the marathon each year and experience Jerusalem's cultural and historical landmarks, the city's unique routes and landscapes (see course map) and an inspiring and unforgettable athletic experience.
The starting point of the marathon is Israel's parliament, the Knesset, in the western part of the city. Runners thence loop around the Giv'at Ram campus of the Hebrew University, pass alongside the valley of the cross, and cross through various neighborhoods on their way up to Hebrew University's Mount Scopus campus in eastern Jerusalem. The route then descends to the Old City, taking runners through Jaffa Gate and the Armenian Quater and out Zion Gate, on their way to the Jerusalem Forest. The race's finishing point is Sacher Park. Jerusalem's hilly terrain makes the marathon especially challenging. The religious and ethnic diversity of the Jerusalem Marathon led one Haartez reporter to describe the race as "the most cosmopolitan event around."
Half-marathon races had been held in the city prior to the first official Jerusalem Marathon in 2011, but it was not until Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat pushed for a race conforming to international standards that the municipality made the full marathon an official annual event in the city.
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