Friday, March 16, 2012

Jerusalem Marathon 2012

Raphaela's Gan is located so close to Gan Saccher and the start of the Jerusalem Marathon, that they requested this year that parents who did not need to take their children out of the house should stay home, as access to the Gan would be exceptionally limited for both staff and the Gan families.  I had planned on running, and originally thought about Gan as an alternative to baby sitting, but in the end, left Raphaela in a prolonged play date with a friend.  So before I even walked to check-in at Gan Saccher, I put my daughter in a stroller and took her over to her friend's house.

I almost canceled my participation this year, because this morning, and in fact throughout the day, we had the worst weather in Jerusalem:  driving winds, heavy rains and at certain points (including during my run), hail stones.  I believe that G-d's Ministry of Weather has a bit of a sadistic side...

The pre-race atmosphere at Gan Saccher was inspiring, and because this international event was being held in the capitol of the Jewish country, one of the event tents included a synagogue.  There were musicians and street performers, warm-up seminars and a free coffee bar;  apparently (news to me!) a shot of caffeine helps your run.  Since I had chosen to run a mini-marathon (10K total), I was present when the first winners crossed the Finish Line.

I also met a fascinating group of people, including a woman from Norway who had come specifically to see Jerusalem and run the Marathon;  an elderly American man who had made aliyah 30 years ago, and was the last of his group of friends who continued to run and compete;  a woman and her two children from Ashkelon, who had fled the bombings and escaped to Jerusalem to feel more safe;  and a Russian security guard, himself a single parent and eager to share stories.

After getting my bum left knee taped, we walked to the Start Line, at the entrance of the Israel Museum and opposite the Knesset.  The area was jammed with competitors, but the DJ played amazing dance music, so you could not help but move your body while waiting.  As we counted down, and the hail resumed, I thought to myself, "why am I doing this?!"  But as soon as I got on the course, I felt a huge sense of pride in myself, and kept my mind busy by looking at the scenery and singing some of Raphaela's children songs in my head.

By the time I reached to the finish line, it seemed too short, the fun had ended too soon.  I walked home at least another 2 km to pick up Raphaela from her friend's house, and on the way home I bought myself a slice of pizza -desperately needed sugar - and a beautiful bouquet of flowers.