They may have been more than 8,000 kilometers away from their homeland but husband and wife Anthony and Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan, together with their daughters Ella and Solana, felt surely at home as they conquered yet another challenge: the 8th Jerusalem Marathon.
Team Pangilinan—as this athletic family who has joined and triumphed in several marathon and triathlon events not only in the Philippines but around the globe as well—is among the 30,000 runners who participated in the annual Jerusalem Marathon held on March 9.
Eleven other participants from the Philippine also joined the marathon whose 8th edition saw a record-breaking number of approximately 4,000 runners from abroad.
Year after year, Jerusalem Marathon offers different categories. First time participant as he may be, experienced marathoner Anthony went for and finished a full marathon, at 42.2 kilometers. Meanwhile, her wife Maricel and daughter Ella ran the 10-kilometer course. Solana, the youngest among Team Pangilinan, also joined via the 800-meter run.
Joining the celebrity family is guest of honor, Ethiopian Olympic medalist and long-distance running world champion Haile Gebrselassie who ran the 10-kilometer course.
Gebrselassie holds two Olympic gold medals in 10,000-meter running and four world titles for that same distance. More remarkably, he was the first in the world to break the 2:04 record for the marathon run. His participation in the marathon serves as an impressive recognition of the Jerusalem Winner Marathon’s prestige and importance in the eyes of the entire world.
The marathon’s starting line is situated by Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, and runners in the Full Marathon will then loop around the Givat Ram campus of the Hebrew University, pass alongside the Valley of the Cross, and through various neighborhoods on their way up to Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus campus.
The route then descends to the historic Old City, taking runners through Jaffa Gate and the Armenian Quarter and out Zion Gate, on their way to the Jerusalem Forest. The race’s finishing point is in Sacher Park.
As such, Jerusalem Marathon course not only allows runners to take in the tremendous sights of the modern and old neighborhoods of the city it also tests their stamina with its steep inclines and hills.
As Anthony attested on his Instagram post, “Done! The Jerusalem Marathon, arguably one of the most difficult 42.2 km races due the many hills, including Mount Zion! I made it because the Lord ran for me! He carried my ‘cross’ despite major cramping at the 30th.”
“In my morning devotion before the race this idea really inspired me: ‘A burden is ‘what He hath given thee’…and in the magic of trust the burden is changed into a pair of wings, and the weighted one ‘mounts up with wings as eagles’. What a privilege! Part of Team Pangilinan here to see more of what Israel has to offer like sports events and high tech start ups apart from Holy land tours (which we have been doing too)!”
For its part, the Israel Ministry of Tourism, through its director for the Philippines and India, Hassan Madah thanks Team Pangilinan for their participation and acknowledges the role of Filipinos to their tourism.
“We are very happy that Team Pangilinan joins this year’s Jerusalem Marathon as we wanted to share to the Filipinos our events and other activities in Israel. We also have a good start for 2018 welcoming 120-percent increase of Filipinos going to Israel for the month of January versus last year” Madah noted.