The first Bible Marathon will take place April 9, 2015, with runners following in the footsteps of the first marathon man who ran the 42k from the battlefield at Eben Ezer (modern day Rosh Ha'ayin) to Shiloh.
One of the first runs recorded in human history - long before the "marathon" told of in Greek mythology - is mentioned in the Bible, in the beginning of the book of Samuel, where it is written: "Then a man of Benjamin ran from the battle line the same day, and came to Shiloh with his clothes torn."
The "man of Benjamin" ran from Eben Ezer to ancient Shiloh to tell of the end of the war between the Israelites and the Philistines. The runner's mission was to inform Eli, the high priest of Israel, of the defeat in the war, the death of his sons and the capture of the Ark of the Covenant.
Many centuries later, in the 1970s, the founder of the Maccabiah games, Yosef Yekutieli, set out to measure the length of the course from Rosh Ha'ayin to Shiloh, in the Benjamin region. He was amazed to find that the length of this historic path precisely matched that of the modern marathon - 42 kilometers (the official length of the Olympic running contest, determined in 1908 at the London Olympics).
It is in this unique atmosphere that the first marathon in history is now being renewed, in an athletic event that will include hundreds of runners from Israel and overseas. The runners will traverse the course of the "man of Benjamin", culminating among the ruins and mosaics of ancient Shiloh.
Runners in the Bible Marathon can choose from three options:
• 42 km full marathon - from Rosh Ha'ayin to Ancient Shiloh
• 15 km heat - start at Ariel University, finish at Ancient Shiloh
• 5 km popular run - around Ancient Shiloh