Zachy Hennessey
February 5

Against the backdrop of war, 6,000 runners took to the scenic route of the fifth Dead Sea Marathon on February 2 as the rising sun cast a hopeful glow over Earth’s lowest elevation on land. 

The marathon offered participants a unique journey along an embankment dividing the Israeli and Jordanian shores of the Dead Sea, a path closed to the public for the rest of the year. 

Runners had the option to compete in various categories including 5k, 10k, 21.1k, 42k, and even a challenging 50k ultra-marathon.  

“From here, you can only go up,” remarked Tourism Minister Haim Katz.

“The Dead Sea Marathon, which took place this year in the shadow of war, symbolizes more than ever the victory of the body, soul and spirit. I hope that also on the national level, the immense crisis of October 7 will be followed by great light, beginning with the return home of all the hostages,” he added.

6,000 runners defy adversity in 5th Dead Sea Marathon
The 2024 Dead Sea Marathon kicks off. Photo by Oren Alon

Participants and spectators alike included families and friends of hostages, soldiers recovering from war injuries, bereaved families, and numerous families from southern Israel evacuated to the Dead Sea hotels.

“During this run, we transferred crazy energy to the hostages,” said 78-year old Shaul Levy, whose granddaughter Naama Levy was held captive in Gaza. “Hold on a little longer, don’t lose hope. We will bring you home.”

Organizers said the event served as a beacon of hope and unity during tumultuous times, showcasing the resilience and determination of both participants and organizers. 

As the nation looks forward to brighter days ahead, the upcoming Jerusalem marathon slated for March 8 promises to further embody the spirit of solidarity and perseverance.

Fighting for Israel's truth

We cover what makes life in Israel so special — it's people. A non-profit organization, ISRAEL21c's team of journalists are committed to telling stories that humanize Israelis and show their positive impact on our world. You can bring these stories to life by making a donation of $6/month. 

Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director

More on Marathons