Maccabiah Games Half Marathon – Race Report

I have mixed emotions as I write up this race report. The course was brutal and all the times were slow. Most all of Maccabi USA’s team was 5-10 minutes (or more) slower than their anticipated time. The course was all hilly with some of significant length. There was no break from either climbing or descending.

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It was still over 80F at the start and VERY humid making for a very high over 75F dew point. The start was full of pushing and shoving and even with a seeded bib as a member of one of the Maccabiah delegations it was hard to get to the front. Then in the midst of this pushing there was a quick gun. I needed to get out hard as the opening 250m was on grass and the the course turned onto a narrow path. My opening mile was 5:47. Not crazy quick and most of that was in the first 800m. I settled into a slower pace once I was on the path.

The course was dark and the backlight on my garmin was not working so I missed most of my splits and just tried to go by feel although where the street lighting was decent I could sneak a peek at the watch.

I could tell I was in good position in the race and I did my best to stay relaxed and try to run strong but not crazy up the hills and fast but not crazy on the downhills. It seemed to work as from mile 2 on I was passing people and I do not recall getting passed.

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I continued to move by people and ran much of the last 5K alone. There were parts on the course where I would hear chants of “USA!! USA!!” both by Americans and Israelis. On one part of the course young kids jumped out and sprinted to run with me for a short bit and another part where kids on bikes were riding besides me cheering me in hebrew.

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We hit 19K as we entered the final section in the Ramat Gan National park. That last 2K took forever but I was able to muster my strength and kick in the last 400m. At that time I had no idea how many, if any, masters were in front of me. I knew I was fairly high up just based on how strung out it was. You can tell when you are having a good day when you can push through the pain and feel like you pulling away from the runners near you. I knew the time would be slow but I felt I was running comparatively well. The question was how many Israeli masters were in front of me. The Israeli team has a great group that emigrated from Ethiopia a number of years ago and these Ethiopian Jews really bolstered the Israeli distance running teams. Some of them are masters now and I knew they were out there. The question was how many were in front of me.

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I finished in 1:23:56 which is very slow for me but on this course it was a very solid effort. This effort at the Philadelphia distance run is well under 1:20 and possibly even under 1:20 at a course like Caesar Rodney. I am happy with the effort I put in.

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After the race I helped my teammates as they came in and did get to chat with the open team as I finished near many of the open runners and beat a good number of Maccabi USA open runners as well!

Well after an hour after I finished during the awards I started getting nauseas and throwing up. It got bad enough that I spent some time at a Tel Aviv hospital for IV fluids and received some anti-nausea medication. I got back to my hotel run at 5:45am. What a long day!!

I finished 23rd overall out of 1700 runners and ended up 4th in the masters just missing a medal. The Israelis swept the 40-49 but I was very close to that medal. Oh so close!

The team awards will be announced today and I am hoping that our 40-49 mens team leaves with a medal. We know the Israeli’s won based on their sweep but I was the next runner which should really help our team. Terry and Jason were in the 1:30’s so I am hoping that we still have enough to get silver or bronze. That would really help make this trip worth while.

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8 Comments on “Maccabiah Games Half Marathon – Race Report”

  1. Euihwa Lee July 24, 2013 at 5:23 am #

    A great effort in almost hostile conditions! You are amazing to run the half at such a remarkable time there. I hope you recover quickly so that you can enjoy the rest of the trip.

    Cheers,
    Euihwa

  2. Steve July 24, 2013 at 8:41 am #

    Great Run Mike!

  3. Janet July 24, 2013 at 11:35 am #

    GREAT job Mike! You trained hard and it paid off. Sometimes the actual time is not as important – you can’t PR every day – but knowing you gave every ounce you had and then one last push. Sounds like Tyler hills and the brutal summer were just what you needed to prepare 🙂 CONGRATS!!!

  4. Scott July 25, 2013 at 9:17 am #

    Mike, “Veni, vidi, vici”! Relish in the experience of something most of us can never imagine. Can’t wait to hear your experience in person when you get back.

  5. run10k31 August 3, 2013 at 8:42 am #

    Roby I saw you listed as a DNF in the final results. So sorry. Let me know if you were able to see the course via my Garmin Data. If you were not we will figure another way for me to send you the results. If you use facebook we can connect and I can send you personal message with my contact information.

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