Barefoot Rick's Jerusalem Marathon Report - March 13, 2015
Isaiah 52:7 - How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, And says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
Temperature at start - 46 deg F
There is just something about Jerusalem. This Holy City that has been fought over for millennia is still a desired location geo-politically, spiritually, and yes, athletically. Where on earth can you compete with other like-minded individuals on a hilly, sometimes mountainous terrain, with a backdrop of history all around? There are few places like this that I know. That is why I desired to return this year for my second running of this wonderful marathon.
Last year I blogged how 2014 was the perfect storm for my slowest marathon time yet. The combination of suffering horribly from jet-lag and lack of sleep were a definite deterrent. On top of that, the weather was hot! By the time I finished the 2014 Jerusalem Marathon it was in the low 80s Fahrenheit. This was much warmer than my training back in still thawing Missouri. So, when things came together this year with starting time temps in the high 40s F and finishing temps in the low 60s F, it was a recipe for a much better time. In addition, I was much more rested. I think it is evident in all my marathon pics this year as I am smiling!
I did not really know I was going back to Jerusalem this year until right before Christmas. I was able to find some ridiculously cheap flights during March and made arrangements to stay in a hostel in the Old City. Flight and lodging were barely over a $1000. A real bargain. So, once committed, I began my training. During this time, I knew that the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) had taken some interest in my barefoot running at the 2014 Jerusalem Marathon. So, I contacted them again, always hoping that Jesus will be lifted up through the seeming foolishness of my barefoot running. They seemed to like the idea, not only of reporting on the marathon, but also filming my testimony regarding how the Lord delivered me from a life of addiction. In short, they recorded my testimony on Saturday March 7 and filmed me in Jerusalem on March 13. The Jerusalem video is attached in this report, and the testimony is forthcoming at the time of this writing.
As I stated, if 2014 was a perfect storm for a slow time and 2015 had all the elements for nearly an hour faster marathon. The new treadmill we bought in December allowed me to train at faster speeds along with elevation (barefoot, of course). I knew that I needed the hill work as the course had "spanked" me the year before. The weather was great this and I was rested. All of these elements meant my first sub-5 hour marathon in nearly four years at the Olathe Marathon on April 16, 2011. So, obviously I was excited to know that I was not "over the proverbial hill" and that I can get faster once again.
There were many wonderful memories about this 2015 marathon: The many shouts of "kohl hah-kah-vohd" from the spectators and racers which means "all the respect to you" as I ran 26.2 miles through the Holy City. Also, meeting Jake at mile 13 as we ran through the Old City was a joy. This young man is serving in the Israeli Defense Forces, but is a native of Kansas City and knows some of the same people I do. What's more is he is a Messianic Jew who loves Jesus! Pretty cool, huh?
I would highly recommend this marathon to both shod and barefoot runners alike. Sure it's hilly and mountainous at times. With sites like Mt. Scopus on the route, would it be otherwise? This is no reason to shrink from the challenge. The very fact that one is running 26.2 miles on holy ground is reason enough to run and enjoy every footstep in this wonderful city. As I say, "inch by inch, it's a cinch!"
Barefoot Marathoner Enjoys Running on 'Holy Ground'
(Left) Jonathan and Chris from the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) (Right) Running up the hill before the Jaffa Gate
Me and a friend from Kansas City, Jake, that I met going through the Old City.
Standing on the Mt. of Olives
Standing on the Mt. of Olives
The joy of finishing!
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