Tel Aviv Marathon Kicks Off Friday
About 40,000 runners arrived at Rokah Bridge in Tel Aviv Friday morning to kick off the 2014 Tel Aviv Marathon.
Traffic will be closed from the bridge to Jerusalem Boulevard until about 1:00 pm Friday. Police advise all commuters to use public transportation and avoid traveling to the Tel Aviv area to prevent congestion.
Despite the closures, the Ayalon Highway will remain open throughout Friday. The Israeli Railway service will be increasing its services to the Tel Aviv area to accommodate the extra foot traffic from the annual event.
Motorists who still arrive in the city by car will be directed to use special parking lots set up throughout the city.
Despite the hubbub and transportation difficulties created by the event, parents and teachers have been advised that schools will still be in session for all ages.
Tel Aviv locals have expressed frustration with the closures. Oren Aharoni, a hairdresser who owns a salon on Arlozorov Street, told Walla! News that the marathon has interrupted business for the entire day.
"How am I supposed to get to work tomorrow?" he asked. "I live in the Allenby area and everything will be blocked, right up until my salon. And even if I can get there, how will the clients get there? Every time there is an event the whole city closes."
Tali, who lives in the heart of Tel Aviv, told the daily on Thursday that she may be stranded because of the closures. She had a flight leaving Friday morning - but no way of leaving the city. "All of the roads are closed - there is not even the smallest 'escape route'," she noted. "I am seriously considering just renting a room in a hotel near the airport - but who will pay for it? [Tel Aviv mayor Ron] Huldai?"
Not everyone was outraged at the decision, however. "It's nice," Yaniv Tzur, owner of the Helinka cafe, stated to Walla!. "This happens in every major city and it's supposed to delight the residents. It's not so terrible if this happens once a year."
Meanwhile, Magen David Adom staff also set up cordons throughout the city of medical teams, mobile intensive care services, ambulances, and more to service runners during the event.
As of Friday morning, at least fifteen people had already been treated for minor bruising and heat exhaustion; five were transported to Ichilov Hospital for further treatment and are in moderate to serious condition.