Are you thinking of escaping the cold and maybe running a nice, warm destination Marathon? Search no more, because there is Tel Aviv Marathon. It always takes place on a Friday end of February. Not only do they have a Marathon, but also a Half Marathon, 10km and 5km race. I ran Tel Aviv Marathon in February 2018 as my third Marathon in my 12 Marathon in 12 months project.
Travel & Accessibility
Traveling to Tel Aviv is not as convenient as traveling to other marathons. There are enhanced security checks at the airports when checking in for the inbound and outbound flights. There are also extra background checks when you have stamps from arabic countries in your passport. I was a little worried about being able to enter the country as I had been to Dubai a few weeks before. But not only did they question me about my trip to Dubai, but also about a trip to Lebanon and Turkey that was over 7 years ago.
Be prepared for these extra security checks. Either get a brand new passport or make sure you arrive at least 3 hours before your flight as the checks take a long time.
Also be prepared that on Saturdays not only a lot of shops and restaurants are closed, but there is also no public transport. This does not affect the race itself which is on a Friday, but maybe your other travel plans.
Also when getting to the race I recommend to either go by bus, book a hotel in walking distance or take one of the green public bikes. Don’t rely on a taxi. We were not able to book a taxi in advance, or get one with an app. The first taxi driver that we found kicked us out, and the second one ripped us off. The taxi drivers in Tel Aviv are by far the worst ones I’ve ever come across.
The Bib Pick-Up is located at Rabin Square. Besides the pick-up there is an Adidas merchandise store as well as a Samsung fun area. There was also an area for talks and speeches but I missed all of them.
There are no other stalls and vendors, however there are a lot of them at the Start/Finish line festival of the race itself. Keep that in mind if you want to buy some last minute supplies.
The Start/Finish line area is located in Hayarkon Park. Here you can also find something like a race expo with lots of stalls and vendors, as well as a huge VIP and spectator area.
The area can get quite crowded, however there were enough facilities and portapotties.
Tel Aviv Marathon Race Course
The Tel Aviv Marathon course starts in the Hayarkon park, then heads north for approximately 10km. It then reaches the coast and goes south along the beach until it reaches the old town of Jaffa.
There you also hit the Half Marathon mark. It then goes back into Tel Aviv towards Rothschild boulevard. It has a few loops in the “white city” area of Tel Aviv before heading back North and back along the river.
The Tel Aviv Marathon route has some nasty bridges and hills, but is still very diverse and scenic. There are water stops every 2-3km and sometimes they are also equipped with sports drinks, gels and bananas. Portapotties however are quite rare on course.
The Half Marathon, 10km and 5km also start and finish at the same location, but do not get to certain parts of the city, especially the old town of Jaffa.
Finish Line Area
After you finish the race you get your medal, water and a bag with some food. I did not see any other options. However there are enough stalls as soon as you exit the finish line area as it is set up as a huge Marathon festival. A lot of people actually have a picknick in the park while waiting for their friends and family.
Tel Aviv is famous for three things
- The beaches
- The food
- The night life / bar / party scene
While I can’t comment on the last one (because I just fell asleep after the marathon) the beaches and food are really nice. I can highly recommend the Falafel at Hakosem as well as the ice cream and frozen yoghurt at Anita.
But what absolutely stole my heart was the old town of Jaffa and the sunset views.