10 kilometers… why not!?

Hannah Kotzen, Young Judaea Year Course, Seattle, WA
Just recently was the Nike Tel Aviv Night Run, a 10K through the streets of Tel Aviv. IT WAS AMAZING! Let me preface by saying that I am not a runner whatsoever so the mere fact that I attempted to run the race was incredible. But what was even more incredible is that I finished! And in an hour and 9 minutes might I add.
I’ve never run a 10K before, so I had no idea what to expect, but it was definitely something I’ll never forget. The run started at 8:00 PM in Dizengoff square, located in central Tel Aviv. We got there about 2 hours early to warm up and look at all of the Nike extravaganzas.
Soon the opening ceremony began and out came a bunch of Nike dancers who were doing some sort of dance/run. It was pretty hysterical to watch. But it got even funnier when a Zoolander-esque Israeli with a microphone and slimming spandex onesie paraded himself up and down the stage instructing a crowd of 10,000 in a jazzercise routine. But it worked because by the end of the 30 minute warm-up, I was excited and ready to run.
There were 4 time brackets- 40 minutes and under, 50 minutes and under, 1 hour and under and 1 hour or more.  My two friends Helene and Becca and I signed up for the last time slot just in case we couldn’t keep up, but we ended up going in the second time bracket just to try it out.
WOW, let me tell you, Israelis can run fast. I was under the impression that this was a fun run that you and your grandma could do just for kicks, but as I looked around I realized that the group I came with were among the only kids there and that everyone was a serious runner.  But it was fun regardless, definitely one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. The starting line was an enormous platform with speakers blaring on both sides.
At 8:05 we were off, and it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. I was surrounded by people everywhere and as I looked ahead I saw a mass of runners for miles. The overall vibe of the run was incredible- so much energy and determination. I had a great time.
At the end of the run there was a huge party with 10,000 sweaty people and lots of free Nike stuff, which wasn’t all too bad if you ask me. I pushed myself more than I ever have before! It’s something I’ll never forget.

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