The Tel Aviv “Samsung” marathon 2021 kicked off digitally under the slogan “All Running Together Separately” due to the restrictions connected to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It is reportedly the largest annual sports event in Israel.
Last year’s event, which was held in late February, just before the global pandemic outbreak reached Israel, drew more than 40,000 runners from around the world. This year’s digital format makes it possible for runners from around the globe to participate in the event. So far, the marathon has attracted more than 20,000 participants from 33 different countries worldwide. It includes runners from the United States, Russia, Brazil, the Netherlands, Italy and the United Arab Emirates. The digital format enables participation until Feb. 25.
In recent years, the Tel Aviv race has become a popular international marathon venue due to the city’s warm climate and stunning views of the Mediterranean. The regular route passes through iconic places in Tel Aviv, such as the 19th century Sarona neighborhood originally built by Christian missionaries from southern Germany, Rabin Square, Old Jaffa and along the alluring sand beaches of Tel Aviv.
With a dedicated smartphone application, the participants can run in a local course designed for them and regardless of where they live in the world. In addition, the app allows the participants to choose the distance that they want to complete: the full marathon (26 miles or 42 kilometers), the half-marathon (13 miles or 21 kilometers), the 10-K or a 5-K. The application also makes it possible to view and share pictures captured throughout the race. Once the runner finishes the race, he or she will receive a personalized digital certificate via the app.
Adding to its strong cosmopolitan image, the Tel Aviv event includes an international team of respected fitness and running influencers. This year’s race includes leading influencers such as Courtney Pruce (UK), Elizabeth Savetsky (USA), Milind Usha Soman (India) and Tatiana Serur (Mexico).
Ron Huldai, Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo, welcomed the digitalized marathon event.
“Even during this challenging year, I am happy that you have not given up on running. In the Nonstop City, even the marathon does not stop,” Huldai said.
Ronen Salem, VP Marketing for Samsung Israel, also praised the resilience of Tel Aviv and its loyal marathon runners.
"This year too, we have proved that everything is possible and we have not given up. Samsung enables everyone to maintain the new normal lifestyle. During the Tel Aviv Samsung Marathon 2021, we are all running, everyone separately, but as together as possible."
As an extra carrot, the Samsung Marathon offers a competition, aptly named “Feet Abroad, heart in Tel Aviv,” in which runners from around the globe can compete for flight tickets to Tel Aviv for the 2022 marathon, sponsored by the Israeli Ministry of Tourism. To participate in the competition, runners should send photos and videos of themselves, while they run through their hometown wearing their specific marathon shirt.
By next year, the marathon organizers hope that the event will return to its normal physical format in Tel Aviv.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.