Four hundred runners came out for the Tiberias Marathon in Israel, and it was the Kenyans who dominated the race. The elite runners, who took off at 9:00 am, included four Kenyan runners, an Ethiopian, two Austrians, a Belgian, a Dane, and a runner from Japan. The large Ethiopian delegation expected to participate did not show up, perhaps due to security issues. Despite their absence, the race was exciting and competitive. At the outset, the Kenyan pack burst foward and took the lead all the way to the finish line. The weather conditions were ideal (sunny), despite two short downpours and the usual fierce wind in the Kinneret.
The winner was Simon Bor of Kenya, with a time of 2:16:13 (not a record). Countryman Paul Tangus, the winner last year, came in second place, seven seconds later (2:16:20). Abraham Limo of Kenya came in third, with a time of 2:18:12.
The Tiberias Marathon also served as the National Israeli Championship. The first Israeli finisher was Zbeda Voodg, with a dramatic, overall fourth-place finish in the same 2:18:12 as Limo. Asaf Bimro took the silver Israeli medal (fifth overall) and Avraham Milkut took the bronze (seventh overall).
The greatest surprise of the marathon came from the women's contest, with Nili Abramsky winning in 2:36:40, smashing her personal best and the Israeli marathon record. This was Nili's third consecutive personal record in the marathon distance. After the half-marathon run in Beit Shean (the official Israeli championship), where she set a new half marathon record, Nili declared her plans concerning the Tiberias marathon which she fulfilled perfectly. Additionally, three other Israeli women shined, with Eti Einer, Dari Mann (42-years old), and Orna Blau running the marathon under 3 hours; very unique for women's long distance running in Israel.
Eighteen handicapped athletes completed the marathon, with the winner being Tzur Feldman, breaking the Israeli record (hand cycling) with a time of 1:40.
The race organization was superb, starting from the pasta party and the opening ceremony the night before the race, until the post-run award ceremony. However, there were several unauthorized vehicles driving with the runners, a nuisance that was not explained.
The prizes were: $5,000 for 1st, $3,000 for 2nd, $2,000 for 3rd, $1,500 for 4th, and $750 for 5th. Nili Abramsky gained an additional 5,000 Israeli shekels for her new record. The Kenyan group coach criticized the low sums, and claimed that higher prizes were promised prior to their arrival.
Courtesy of Tiberias Marathon, translation by Eric Dinnerstein