Last chance to sign up for the Jerusalem Marathon 2012, that’s set to take place on March 16.  Early registration for the full marathon route, half marathon route and a 10-km run closes on January 15.

Organizers say more than 500 runners from over 40 countries have already signed up and another 400 participants are expected to take part in the event. The registered entrants hail from the US, UK, France, Italy, Trinidad, China, Brazil and Peru, among other places.

“Last year we welcomed over 1000 runners from 40 different countries; we are looking forward to once again showcasing Jerusalem as not only a place for pilgrimage, but as a tourism destination overflowing with sporting, cultural, family and nightlife attractions,” said Ilanit Melchior of the Jerusalem Development Authority. “This is a unique opportunity – a marathon that truly touches the mind, body and soul.”

The hilly and holy city takes runners on a path through history — participants will run on the cobblestones of the Old City, through the beautiful neighborhoods of Jerusalem and through the modern city center.

“Some places, like Berlin, have a flat and easy track, which lets marathon runners finish faster, but it’s not so beautiful,” Jerusalem Municipal Sports Authority director Uri Menachem told ISRAEL21c at the inaugural event last year. “A lot of runners don’t care if it takes them an extra few minutes. They want to run and enjoy and see the city.”