Runners 1: Bureaucrats – 0

I don’t know much about boxing, but I do know that “knockout” is not a term often employed when discussing running.

This afternoon, the 2000 or so marathoners who were left out in the cold by the petty self-interest of the decision makers in the Tel Aviv Municipality, got some of their own back.

The Israel Athletic Association (and I can only suspect, not prove, that they were prodded by parties with vested interests) sent an e-mail to Shvoong, the group behind this Saturday’s hastily organized Israman Marathon, informing them that the initiative did not meet IAA standards and was illegal. Moreover, the IAA asked Shvoong to cancel the race and announce the cancellation publicly.

I can tell you that the Facebook comments were not kind, although some were amusing.

Shvoong responded by telling the IAA that it did not have a leg to stand on and asked it to cite the law giving it authority to cancel sports events.

The IAA responded by saying that, well, the event wouldn’t be “official” and neither would the results.

Shvoong told the IAA that it could take its official standards and shove them, adding that it saw the IAA’s letter as obstructionist.

So Saturday’s race is on. Registration, originally capped at 500 participants, closed almost immediately as the quota filled. On Wednesday, Shvoong opened the marathon to another 120 runners. So 620 marathoners will get their race, after all, whether the IAA turns up its nose at the times or not.

Another 300 or so will be running a pirate marathon on Friday morning.

If you’re in Tel Aviv this weekend, come cheer us on. Even if you hate running, don’t know anything about running, don’t care about running. Because this isn’t just about running anymore. It’s about standing up to the system when it’s wrong. It’s about seeing what you’ve trained for come to fruition. It’s about not quitting.


About the Author
Noga Martin has worked for The Jerusalem Post,, and Ynetnews and is now an editor at a publishing company. She lives in south Tel Aviv and has been blogging for the Times of Israel on a myriad of topics since July 2012.