Tag Archives: Tel Aviv Marathon

Tel Aviv Half Marathon Review

A few days ago I posted a recap of my personal experience at the Tel Aviv Half Marathon.
Because this is one of the, if not the, biggest races in Israel, I want to do a review of what I thought of the race itself.
So you know, when you consider running it next year, even if it means a 12 hour flight, you can check my review and make a final decision.
There were also a marathon distance, a 10K, and a 5K. Although I’m reviewing the half marathon, a lot of aspects reviewed are the same for all distances.


Overall I give it a 4 out of 5 starts, taking into consideration how big the race is, making it so much more difficult in terms of logistics, that’s pretty good.

I’m dividing the review in sections, and keeping each one short.

Bib Pickup / Race Expo:
I didn’t pick up my bib or go to the expo (heard it was great though), so there’s only one thing I can say for myself, and it’s a negative: when you have a race this big, there should be more options for bib pickup than an expo in downtown Tel Aviv (read crazy traffic and crazy parking). Basically everyone who doesn’t live or work in Tel Aviv doesn’t want to go there just to pick up a race bib. If race day bib pickup is not possible, a mail option that is not crazy expensive should be available, same as pick up in a few more locations throughout the country, where you’d advise at registration at which location you will pick up your bib.

The race’s website listed the parking lots that would be available to park at around the race area, which was very useful. Still, parking was an issue, especially for those with later start times (10K/5K distances). Can’t blame race organizers for this, but something to keep in mind.

The race’s start and finish line was at a big boulevard (Rokach) right by Park Hayarkon, with the after party being at the park. I really liked this location, broad avenue is great for a start line, and the park right next to it made it perfect for the after party and hanging out after the race.


Start Line:
The entrance to the corral was fenced and well organized, the fact that they had 4 different groups for the half marathon made life so much easier, it didn’t feel crowded.
There were volunteers by the start line collecting throw away clothes, which is something I had never seen before. I was happy to (potentially) be able to give my warm hardly worn cardigan to someone who needs it, instead of just leaving it on the side of the road.
We started running exactly at 08:00 AM like we were supposed to, impressive.


Although my only entertainment while running is my IPod, I appreciate the effort of the organizers, there were music stands, DJs, and bands at different points through the course. Live bands on a race are just so cool. I think I even paused my IPod for a few seconds.



I don't think he was formal entertainment, but he got a smile out of me.
I don’t think he was formal entertainment, but he got a smile out of me.

Lots of reporters and photographers mainly at the start/finish lines and also through the course. This is a big event in Israel and it was exciting to be part of it.

I loved the course of the half marathon, I love Tel Aviv and I’m used to running through parts of it. The course went by the boardwalk which was nice, then we turned into part of downtown Tel Aviv, not as nice in terms of sightseeing, but still a cool place, and I hold dear memories about those streets (I used to live and work in downtown Tel Aviv in my previous life before marriage/kids).
The course was well marked, the KM signs were visible and clear, and it was flat for the most part with little hills here and there.
My one BIG problem with the course: merging different distances, we merged with the marathoners at some point (fine, there weren’t many) and later on with the 10K’ers which was hell. Adding 18000 to my route at the 15th KM of a half marathon is not cool. This is a deal breaker for me, I will studying the courses and start times of future big races, and will not be running one where merging happens.


Aid Stations:
There were plenty, and they were well stocked on each station I went by. There would be many runners behind me (from the 10K/5K distances) so I can’t say what happened later.


Race Bling:
We got a race shirt, which is nice and light, and a medal which is worthless and not pretty. I don’t have a use for medals so maybe someone who actually likes them feels different.


Race After Party:
The park by the finish line was were the after party was held. There were booths for different vendors (I didn’t even look, I had no money on me so there was no point), music, massage chairs, and lots of space to walk or stretch. I don’t know if it was just the endorphins or if it actually was a great after party, but I was having fun.


Food/Drink After the Race:
BAD BAD BAD. OK there were a lot of water bottles, at least that.
But no food except for one truck where they were giving away yogurt. First of all, one truck? In that big area, I didn’t see it until someone pointed it out to me. Second, nothing besides yogurt? I wouldn’t eat yogurt after running 21K if my life depended on it, can you imagine how that might seat on your stomach? I’m not taking that risk. Please give me carbs: bread, crackers, bananas, little balls of sand… give me something damn it. I’m hungry after a race. No food is inexcusable. Minus 5 points for you!

Life in Tel Aviv during the race:
A lot of the roads in Tel Aviv were closed due to the race, which of course as a runner I do not only appreciate but demand (I’m not running a race if the streets aren’t closed, that’s crazy).
However, I can imagine the trouble that caused to many residents of the city, especially on a Friday morning, which is the time when a lot of religious people get ready for the Sabbath.
Also, because the streets were closed and there was no public transportation in parts of the city, they called schools off (no school or kindergarten), which I’d personally be very upset about if I lived in Tel Aviv.

I am impressed by how quickly the results were published online, and how they kept updating them through the weekend to show only chip time (at first they were posted by finish line time), include splits, update ranks, and/or disqualify runners who didn’t run the race themselves.




Race Recap – Tel Aviv Half Marathon – PR 01:38:57

Today I’m posting about my race experience in the Tel Aviv Half Marathon, just my running, and soon I’ll do a general race review.

I had a pretty easy night the night before the race, except for a little someone keeping me up for an hour in the middle of the night.
Still, I managed to wake up refreshed and energetic.

I wasn’t planning on getting up extremely early, just an hour before I had to leave the house, but ended up getting up about 2 hours in advance. I think this was positive, and will take it into consideration for next race, it was good to be up and done with eating and drinking earlier.

I left the house around 6:15, I had to laugh at myself, not looking like I’m about to run a race, at all:


What I actually wore to the race:
Mizuno Wave Rider 16, Red
Marathon Pro Compression Socks
Athleta Presto Shorts
Nike Tank
IPod Shuffle
Ironman Sunglasses

The race’s website had listed a few parking lots around the race area, and I went straight to one of the closest ones and it was already packed. I didn’t look for parking for long and figured it would be a waste of time anyway, better go (and fast) to next one. So I went and found parking easily.

I walked/ran to the race site, about 2KM/1.2M, got there about 7:30. My start time was 8:00 so that’s pretty good. Since I had already warmed up on my way there, I just took my time getting through to my corral, walking around a bit, and using the restrooms at the gas station right by the start line.
By then it was about 7:50, I stood in place, ate a GU (salted caramel, finally I tried it and it was delicious), and by exactly 8:00 we were off.

Warming up before the start:
Tel Aviv Half Marathon Warm Up

I had stood around the middle lines of the pack of people at the start, I know a lot of the people in my corral would run faster than me. I also don’t want to be that annoying runner stuck in the middle that everyone has to pass.

I started running easy, although I had a lot of people in front of me, and some people passing me as well. I knew what paces I wanted to run, and I wasn’t about to go out too fast, not the first few KMs for sure. I like to shut off in races, not compete with anyone, go by my watch.

Half Marathoners first group start. I’m there somewhere towards the back.
Start Half Marathon

By the 5th KM I was pushing a bit too much. Nothing major, but I was gaining a few seconds to my goal pace every KM. I didn’t feel it in my legs but I saw it in my watch, and wondered if it would affect me in the end.


I ate a 2nd gel at the 9th KM, and knew the second half of the race was “push” time. Not as fast as I can go, but as fast as I should go for a half marathon distance. I think I had a good plan in terms of paces.
By now the roads weren’t as crowded with runners, and I also started to pass people. I saw that with every KM that went by, I was running more comfortably, with less people around. I knew I still had about 7KM to go, at a hard pace to keep, but I was in a good place mentally, feeling good, great weather, not a lot of people around me.. all I had to do was keep it up.

TLV Half 2

And then, like I posted after the race, the big setback of the race happened, we merged with the 10K’ers. Thousands of them. Seriously, this was tough. I was weaving like crazy, I had to slow down, and I didn’t know I was still in the right course because there were markers but who knows, maybe I missed one? With all those people, I lost sight of the few half marathoners that I’d seen around me earlier.

I never came back from that. I kept it up as much as I could but it took a toll on me. I slowed down and I wasn’t feeling great anymore. The last 2KMs were the worst, look at those splits below, crazy slow down.

I can’t say exactly what was that made me slow down, definitely merging with so many people late in the race played a big part, but there were a couple other mistakes I made that might have played a part, I ran faster than I intended from the 3rd KM until the 9th, and I also didn’t drink. I don’t drink during long runs of the half marathon distance, but then a long run is not at the same effort as an actual race. My side was hurting the last 2KMs and I think that’s a sign of dehydration. Lesson learned, I will drink water in my next half marathon.

I crossed the finish line basically beat. I even forgot to turn off my watch right away. We had to keep walking for about 200 mtrs to the ‘after race’ area, and I couldn’t. I sat on the side of the road to breathe and calm down, my side was hurting and I felt dizzy.

Garmin TLV Half

TLV Half Marathon Splits

I sat for a few minutes and then continued walking, since I was desperate for water. I had 3 half litter (16 fl. oz.) bottles, one right after the other.
The after area was nice, it was in the park and there were stands of merchandise (I didn’t even look, the usual race expo stands), water, yogurt. I didn’t see any food besides the yogurt, weird and big time bad. Please, give me food. I just ran a half marathon for god’s sake.


There were lots of people coming by as the half marathoners and the 10K’ers were finishing pretty much together. I was lucky enough to find a few of my friends, so we stayed talking and walking around for about an hour before going home.

I really like the atmosphere at races, being surrounded by people who love to run, who like to exercise and be healthy, I just love it. I know I could randomly start talking to any of those people and we’d have something in common to talk about. How cool is that.

Official Time: 01:38:57
Overall Place: 586 out of 7569
Women’s Place: 25 out of 1665
Category (35-39) place: 7 out of 287

TLV Half Marathon Res

Overall, the whole race went by fast, and well. This was only my 2nd half marathon, and it was nothing like my first, this time it seemed so much easier.
For good or bad, there were a lot more people here, more energy, awesome route (I love Tel Aviv), and I also have a few more long runs under my belt, so it played well.
It wasn’t perfect, but a good race for me, despite the end, and even the bad I’ll take as a good learning experience.




Race Day Means Dinning Out Night

This has to become some kind of tradition, having dinner at our favorite restaurant after a race.


Today’s race was tough for me, mentally more than physically.
Of course I will do a full review, soon.

But in the meantime I’ll just tell you this.
After trying hard to get away from people, to keep my paces, to pass some girls that I’ve seen on other races (and they are fast for me), after having everything go great… at about the 14 KM mark we merged with all the 10K’ers.

There were a lot of them, and it was demoralizing to have so many people in front of me again, to start weaving again. I wasn’t sure we would stay on the same course until the end and I was afraid of missing a turn and going the wrong way. A lot of mental energy went into all of this, at a point in the race that I didn’t have much mental energy left.

This is a bit before the 14K mark, if I recognize the area correctly.. see there’s not a lot of people around me.

Tel Aviv Half Marathon - 14K

This is around the 18K… look at the masses! Tough shit.
I don’t know why I put my glasses up, everything was bothering me by now.

Tel Aviv Half Marathon - 18K

I still managed to PR, I know that. I don’t know what my official result is yet, but my Garmin’s time is 01:39:10 and it took me a few seconds to turn it off, so I’m a little below that. Garmin distance was 21.26, but that’s close enough, the difference is all corners and weaving.
Now if my official result could be 01:38:xx that would be awesome. Even 01:38:59.

Just so you know, I was hoping for 01:38:37, how random is that number. It came from the splits I was hoping for (05:10, 05:00, 4:55..) and the last .1 KM made the final time I was hoping for kind of funny. That result is not happening, but that’s OK.

It was a great race overall, I am so happy I ran it. It was well organized and everything went smoothly, including parking, start line (not as crowded as I feared), great energy, lots of aid stations, DJ’s, music bands.. quite an event. I want you all here next year!



Have you raced an international race? Would you consider running one?



Having Fun at Work, and Some Running

I really wanted to go pick up my bib for Friday’s Half Marathon, but it didn’t make sense that I go myself because:

A) It would take me at least 2 hours to go into Tel Aviv and come back, completely unnecessary considering a friend could bring it to me.
B) They probably sold GU at the expo at a good price, which means I would end up buying a ridiculous amount of packets.

I got to work this morning, and immediately went to pick up the race pack from my friend’s office:

Bib and Shirt TLV Half Marathon

The shirt is nice, I like my bib number, the samples and pamphlets are few and useless, respectively.

Shirt Tel Aviv Half Marathon

I had to try on the shirt the minute I got home. I like it and it fits well, it has a nice cut. It seems really light too. However I am not wearing it to the race, I’d rather wear a tank top. They should do a tank top race shirt next time.

As you can see I’m already wearing my slippers, I change into those as soon as I get home. That’s all running, taking care of my feet. I used to stay in heels all day before I started running.


Work was fun today!
I work for an airline, and we went to see a plane that had undergone some design changes.

Pilot Cabin Plane

Don’t worry, I’m not flying a plane anytime soon. Now you can visit Israel.


Forget pilot cabins and turbines though, this is what most days look like:


Not as fun, uh? You got that right.


Running has been a regular taper week. Now that I’ve ran a few races I’m getting the hang of tapering. I’m not even in a bad mood this time around.

Monday was a short HIIT run, half an hour, with fast pace intervals but only 30 seconds each, so I ended the run still feeling strong.
Tuesday was easy 8KM/5M outside. That was my last run until race day, so I made an effort to keep it light.
I went for a swim this morning, 30 minutes or so, I don’t really check my time when I swim. ‘Cause I already know I’m not fast, so why bother.


Have you ever gotten a race shirt that was anything but a short sleeve t-shirt?

If you work, what do you do?



Race Fears, a Nightmare, and Lets Plan

I don’t have nightmares often but I had a nightmare last night, where I was running the Tel Aviv Half Marathon, which is coming up one week from today, and things were getting really rough.


The course was very hilly with lots of turns, it was raining and snowing (although it doesn’t snow in Tel Aviv), I was slipping and falling every block, and because it was so cold I was wearing long pants, a coat and a hat.
I looked at my watch and I was averaging 07:00 Min/KM (11:15 Min/Mile) pace, and I was only on the 3rd KM (less than 2 miles).

I know I had this dream because I’m worried about the race.
Sure I’ve done the training, and I start tapering today, but that’s about all I’ve done.
There are things I haven’t figured out yet, and that are making me nervous:

Race course: I hadn’t looked at the race course even though it’s been posted online for some time. To be honest, there’s not much to look at, Tel Aviv is mostly flat. Still, I usually check the course in advance and for my previous half marathon I drove through it to see how steep the hills were. This time I didn’t even check it until this morning, didn’t know if there were some hills, or lots of turns, or anything else that could make it difficult. Now that I’ve seen it, it doesn’t look bad at all.

Tel Aviv Half Marathon 2014 Course Map

Getting to the race and parking: Normally I would drive, but for this race, the parking situation will be crazy, it’s a big race, there’s not a lot of parking around that area, and what parking there is will not only fill up fast but it’s a bit far from the start line. Not ideal conditions, and not something I want to deal with right before a race. So I don’t know if I’ll drive and deal with it, or ask a friend for a ride, or take the train.

Full Parking

Bib pick up: There is no pick up on race morning, so I need to pick up my bib this week sometime between Sunday and Wednesday. Pick up is only in Tel Aviv (read: bad traffic to/from the city, and not a lot of parking), so I will have to go either during my lunch break (which will take much longer than my lunch break) or in the evening with my kids, which means even more traffic/crazy parking at that hour, or ask someone else to pick it up for me.

Cold weather: I’m not used to the cold and I don’t deal well with it. I really don’t want to be cold before the race, but I won’t have the option to dress warm and then go put those clothes in my car since even if I do drive, parking will be far. I might do throwaway to solve that. And after the race I don’t know how long it will be until I can get back to the car and put on warmer clothes.

Cold Weather

Hot weather: I didn’t say my fears were rational.  As much as I’m afraid of the cold, I’m afraid of it being too hot during the race and that affecting my performance/how I feel. The race doesn’t start until 8:00, that means I’ll be running until 9:45, it could be pretty warm by then.

Hot Weather

It will be crowded: There’s no way around the fact that this is a big race, and even hoping it will be very well organized (which is not a sure thing), it will get pretty crowded. The largest race I ran had about 1.500 participants, this race has around 40.000.. I can’t even deal with that number. (OK I just searched for that information, now I’m really freaking out! I thought it was about 20.000…)

Marathon Start Crowded

Bathroom situation: To put it simple, I need to pee right before I start running. It might be psychological but I can’t stand the feeling of an even slightly full bladder while running. So before a race I try to go pee at least twice, once when I get to the race and once right before the race or at least right before warming up. Not sure how that will work here, with 40.000 other participants.

Gotta Pee

Running with my phone: Given the size of the race, logistics to get to/from the race, meeting friends, etc., I will need my phone with me. And the thought of running a half with a phone against my tights is just not appealing.


Have you ran any large races?