On February 3, about 4,000 local and international runners will join in the annual Dead Sea Marathon set in an area of spectacular scenery at the lowest point on Earth.
Participants can choose from five courses, ranging from a 5k walk to the 50k Israel Athletic Association (IAA) Ultra Marathon championship; and including a 10k, a 21.1k half marathon, and a 42k marathon track.
Starting at Ein Bokek Beach, some of the races will go around the southern shore of the sea while others will head east on an embankment created by the Dead Sea Factory.
The embankment serves as an unofficial border between the Israeli and Jordanian sides of the salty sea and is open to the public only this one day of the year.
Now in its fourth season, the Dead Sea Marathon continues in the spirit of the original Masada Ein Gedi race, inaugurated in 1981 with only 150 local participants. For the next 30 years, the route took marathoners from the foot of Masada along Highway 90 – which was not closed to traffic.
In 2019, the Tamar Regional Council decided to turn the Masada Ein Gedi race into the international Dead Sea Marathon and allow the runners to access the embankment that reaches out into the sea.
“The marathon has become a flagship event for the [Tamar regional] council, attracting the interest of runners from Israel and all over the world,”
said council head Nir Wanger.
The current half marathon is named for the late Tomer and Giora Ron, sons of Kibbutz Ein Gedi kibbutz member Eli Ron, initiator of the Masada Ein Gedi race.
The Dead Sea Marathon was organized with the support of the Israel Chemicals Company, the Dead Sea Drainage Authority and the Environmental Protection Ministry.