Tuesday, April 17, 2007
The Race with the Marzipan Elvis
We often remember races for things other than the run and this was the case last Friday when we ran the oldest race in Israel around Mt Tavoor in the North. This is the oldest race in Israel being run over the last 55 year, which in age terms and length of history of a nation makes this run one of the most famous in the country.
Of course being Israel it was a complete and utter mess at the begining with access being granted to the car park only after a screaming match with a policeman with me waving and flashing my Press card and pointing to the TV signs all over my car as I explained that I was there to film the event, conviently dressed in running clothes along with my friends Chaim, Judith an Rachel.
Of course they then placed the bib collection down a hill about a km away, it was just all going wrong from the gitgo and for the first time in a long time I actually considered packing it in and just going home. I had to run back up the hill drop clothes off and run back to the start covered in sweat with my pace racing, only to have to stand around and wait in mud for the next twenty minutes as someone figured out where the actual starting line was and that we all were facing the wrong way.
The run itself is a classic ballbreaker with the first three km's being straight up the mountain that you can see in the background of the photo. Following my Ultras back in Australia I soon realised that I was in for a tough race as I was walking (along with everyone else after the first half km) I am normally a good hill runner but this was tough but at least on a road rather than the mud trail we started on.
You know trhe feeling of trying to scrape off the mud from the souls of your trainers as you try to reduce the weight on your feet back down to a manufacturers level.
Now we finally got to the high pointand descended down thru an Israeli Arab village of no beauty or value whatsoever, but then there is the irony of running past a mosque in the middle of Israel.
We now looped back along thru the fields at the base of the mountain once again slipping and sliding thru mud puddles with a quick Hwy downhill before the final small uphill and to the finishing line.
I wish I could figure out my time but the organisers site is all in hebrew, I think I did the 11km in 1:01 and some change so given the conditions and proximity to the ultras I was happy with my time. The others all came in within a few minutes of each other around 15 minutes later.
So what has this to do with "Marzipan Elvis" well the area is known for its Almonds the source of Marzipan and after the race we headed down to a restaurant for a coffee which by chance is also the home of the "Marzipan Museum" all you have ever wanted to know about marzipan is here. But in pride of place behind a protective pane of glass there was a life size model of Elvis (not the slim Elvis) made from Marzipan.
So for some races it is almost funny that you remember not the sweat pain and agony of running to your maximum but hey the Marzipan Elvis "priceless".