Jerusalem's winding streets will be closed Friday for an historic event: the participation of over 25,000 people, from 54 different countries, in the annual Jerusalem marathon.
The competitions include a full marathon, a half marathon, a 10 kilometer run and a 5 kilometer run. Mayor Nir Barkat and Gilad Shalit, the soldier released from Hamas captivity in 2011, are participating in several of the events.
At least 2,500 runners flew into Israel from abroad for the marathon run, and hotels in Jerusalem report that over 10,000 rooms have been booked, leaving no vacancies. At least 50 different press organizations have flooded the Holy City to record the city's fourth annual run.
Transportation closed city-wide
Ben-Tzvi Blvd. - one of Jerusalem's direct roads - was closed as early as 11 p.m. Thursday in preparation for the marathon, as was the large parking lot on Yehuda St.
From 5:45 am, the following streets are closed to traffic: Ruppin Boulevard; Hebrew University Campus St.; Rabin Boulevard; Haim Hazaz Blvd; Tchernichovsky; Palmach; HaNasi; Keren HaYesod; King George and Jaffa Streets; IDF square; Haim Bar-Lev; George Adam Smith; Lehi; Martin Buber; Binyamin Mazar; Winston Churchill; roads leading to several of the gates in Jerusalem's old city; Jerusalem Brigade; King David; Jabotinsky; Chopin; Dubnov; Emek Refaim; Derech Beit-Lehem; David Remez; Derech Hevron; Linovsky; Yehuda; Pierre Koenig; Kovshei Katamon; Eliezer HaMoadi; and Gan Sacher.
Police have warned that traffic is expected to be highly congested during the marathon, which will end at 1 pm Friday afternoon. Vehicles parked along main running tracks will not be allowed to leave until the end of the event. Vehicles parked illegally will be towed.
The Jerusalem police have opened a call center during the marathon, available at 1-700-553-100.