Jerusalem is holding its second international marathon and the race this year has drawn 15,000 runners from Israel and abroad.
The city’s ancient holy sites give the run a unique appeal, but steep hills and chilly weather promise a challenging haul. There are about 1,500 runners from overseas. Overall, about 1,000 participants are expected to complete the full 42-kilometer (26.2- mile) race.
Others will attempt shorter distances, including Mayor Nir Barkat who says he plans to run a half-marathon.
A large police contingent has been deployed and many streets are closed.
Jerusalem, claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians as a capital, is a frequent flashpoint of violence. On Thursday, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli soldier on the city’s light train.