Jerusalem marathon: UK rabbi crosses line with guide dog as 40,000 take part

Jerusalem marathon: UK rabbi crosses line with guide dog as 40,000 take part

Participants from forty countries ran the course around the holy city, as Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg runs last 100 metres with a Labrador

Shalva runners in the Jerusalem Marathon
Shalva runners in the Jerusalem Marathon

British competitors in this year’s Jerusalem Marathon joined a record 40,000 runners from 60 countries, with one rabbi even running the final section with a guide dog.

Senior Masorti Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, 60, ran the last 100 metres of the 26-mile stretch with a handsome white Labrador called Harry, together with Noach Braun, who founded the Israel Guide Dog Center.

Wittenberg joined runners from countries such as the US, Canada, Mexico and Australia in the Israeli capital, with six tracks of differing lengths, including an 800 metre community run for those with disabilities.

Avi Samuels, chair of Israeli disability charity Shalva, paid tribute to “the marvellous energy of the Shalva children, which drew in the crowd with their love of life… They feel themselves to be an inseparable part of the Jerusalem marathon”.

Wittenberg, whose father kept blood banks in cool during the War of Independence in 1948, said running the Jerusalem Marathon was a way of sharing an activity with his own son, Mossy, and that he had chosen to raise money for guide dogs in part because he is “stupidly sentimental about animals”.

Among the sites to be seen during this year’s event was a man running with a flower pot on his head, while out in front the race was won by Kenyan Shadrack Kipkogey for the fourth year in succession.

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