It might be one month away, but the Jerusalem Marathon is already being hailed as one of the greatest international sporting events to take place in Israel and is expected to see a record number of runners who will infuse the local economy with millions of shekels. 

An estimated seventeen thousand runners will take part in the varied races as part of the third annual Jerusalem Marathon on March 1st, and on Monday Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat began the inaugural celebrations, stressing the significant impacts the international race will bring to the city. 

"The Jerusalem Marathon is an international event which puts Jerusalem on par with the leading cities of world such as New York, Berlin, London and Paris," said Barkat, who will also be running in the marathon. 

"As a marathon runner who finished five marathons in different cities around the world, I can say with full confidence that the race in Jerusalem will be the most exciting and combines breathtaking and inspiring views with fresh air and a challenging course."

The courses were especially selected to give runners a glimpse at Jerusalem's 3000-year historical narrative, Barkat added, noting the race was ranked as one of the top ten spring races around the world by the British Women’s Running Magazine.

Barkat stressed the vital and tremendous contribution the marathon will have on the city's economy as participants are expected to pump NIS 10 million into the local economy. 

1,600 runners from 52 countries around the world will participate in the complete 42 km marathon. 

About 70 foreign journalists from 11 different countries and television crews from Korea, Russia, Canada, Denmark, the U.S. and Brazil will also be present, indicating a broader international interest in the event. 

Archive photos: Jerusalem Marathon [Flash 90]

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