The doctor said walk, walk and walk some more. It reduces stress, waistlines, and LDL. So today, just five months after my recent heart problems, I ran — well, walked — in the Jerusalem Marathon. Well, maybe just 5 km, but with the walk to and from the Knesset, it was almost 13 km (8 mi). And I received a medal, just like the one Diane always asks me about (“So you want a medal?”)
A lot of credit goes to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who is keeping his promise to bring young people back to the city. Besides the vibrant growing Jerusalem startup scene, including our own Curiyo, there are more and more parks, concerts, the new Cinema City, and great cultural activities.
The weather was ideal and the walk back and forth was as refreshing as the official route. It was nostalgic walking through varied Jerusalem neighborhoods. I walked past the apartment that I shared with three other Hebrew University 1-year students at 19 Rav Berlin Street. It was here that we heard the sirens go off on Yom Kippur 1973. Many memories from junior year.
The way there was through the Valley of the Cross, named for the Monastery of the Cross built there in the 11th Century. According to legend, it is the site of the tree used to make Christianity’s most famous cross. Two centuries ago, it was the only building in the area, in the countryside near Jerusalem. In 1948, it was a grass airplane landing strip, the only way in or out of besieged Jewish Jerusalem. Today thousands of cars drive by every day, hardly noticing the amazing monastery standing there. BTW the man walking the dog in the picture is my friend Shmuel Browns. We worked together twenty years ago; in fact, he was the first guy to drag me over to see a new program called Mosaic (the first browser) on a NeXT computer.
I have walked around that entire building on foot, and until today never found a door. Realize that during medieval times, too many doors or windows could be hazardous to your health. Well, today, I found it. It’s about 4 feet tall, hidden on the side. I loved the sign beside it, which says in handwritten letters: “Holy Cross Monastery, Entrance Ticket 15 NIS, Holy Place, Coffee, Soft Drinks”, and diagrams indicating no dogs or short pants.
The starting line of the Marathon was crowded (27,000) and energized. Loud music playing. Tons of young people ready to go and anxious to run.
These four pictures are: (1) observers cheering the runners on the side — the signs say “We’re proud of you” “You can do it”, (2) my friend Sasson, who came to watch his son Barak, (3) three pretty friends walking together and (4) a Hungarian couple sent from their church in Budapest to support Israel.
Here is a picture of me crossing the finish line — hmmm… I just realized that some of the digits on my sign show two important numbers: 5 and 60. But the picture on the right is much more important. There was a group of maybe twenty or thirty children in wheelchairs being pushed in the Marathon — just inspirational!
The walk home was just as much fun — lots of people on the side of the Yerushalayim streets cheering Kol HaKavod (“way to go!”) I bumped into my good friend Jon Medved, OurCrowd CEO and Curiyo investor and board member (pictured here with granddaughter Hadas). And here’s Rafi, our green-grocer, who made my day by telling me he hasn’t smoked a cigarette in seven days.
One last word for technology — I walked with RunKeeper on my smartphone, and it was interesting to track the routes, calories, distances, and Jerusalem elevations of the walk there, the 5K, and walk back.
Tired, blistered and sore feet, but exhilirated after 16,900 steps, wishing you shabbat shalom שבת שלום, wherever you are!
Also published on Medium.