About 2,200 runners participated in Israel’s first annual Bible Marathon on April 9.
The race is run along the path taken a few thousand years ago when a runner known as the “man from Benjamin” ran from Eben Ezer, site of the modern-day city of Rosh Haayin, to ancient Shiloh to inform Eli the priest that the Israelites had lost the battle with the Philistines and that the enemy had seized the Ark of the Covenant.
According to the story, related in 1 Samuel 4:12-13, “Now a man of Benjamin ran from the battle line and came to Shiloh the same day with his clothes torn and dust on his head. When he came, behold, Eli was sitting on his seat by the road eagerly watching, because his heart was trembling for the ark of God. So the man came to tell it in the city, and all the city cried out.”
While there is no way of knowing precisely where the biblical runner set out, Maccabiah Games founder Yosef Yekutieli measured the approximate distance from Rosh Haayin to Shiloh at 26 miles—the distance of a modern-day marathon.
Ariel Rosenfeld, 41, won the full marathon in a time of 3:30:14.
“We hope that through the marathon, more and more Israelis will learn to know the amazing landscapes and historic stories of the Benjamin region,” said Moshe Rontzki, director of the Tourism Department for the Binyamin Regional Council in Judea and Samaria.