For the first time in some 2,000 years, an upcoming long-distance marathon will give participants the opportunity to experience ancient Israel like never before.

One of the first runs recorded in human history, long before the “marathon” famous in Greek mythology, is mentioned in the Bible at the beginning of the Book of Samuel, where it is written: “Then a man of Benjamin ran from the battle line the same day, and came to Shiloh with his clothes torn.”

The “man of Benjamin” ran from Eben HaEzer to ancient Shiloh to recount the end of the war between the Israelites and the Philistines. The runner’s mission was to inform Eli, the High Priest of Israel, of defeat in the war, the tragic death of his sons and the capture of the Ark of the Covenant.

Many centuries later, in the 1970s, the founder of Israel’s Olympic Maccabiah games, Yosef Yekutieli, set out to measure the length of the course from Rosh Ha’ayin, the location of the ancient battle between the Israelites and the Philistines, to Shiloh in the Benjamin region. He was amazed to find that the length of this historic path precisely matched that of the modern marathon – 42 kilometers, the official length of the Olympic running contest.

It is in tribute to this unique coincidence that the first long-distance run in history, as recounted in the bible, is being re-enacted in an athletic event that will include hundreds of participants from Israel and overseas.

The runners, participating in the event scheduled for April 9th, will traverse the course of the “man of Benjamin,” passing several thriving communities that are set among picturesque vineyards and olive groves. The run concludes among the ruins and mosaics of ancient Shiloh, where an exciting celebration will be held.

Runners in the Bible Marathon are offered three choices:
•    42 km (26 mi) full marathon – from Rosh Ha’ayin to Ancient Shiloh.
•    15 km (9mi) heat – starts at Ariel University, finish at Ancient Shiloh.
•    5 km (3 mi) popular run – around Ancient Shiloh.

By: United with Israel Staff

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