Postcard from... Jerusalem


I thought I was doing so well. Since arriving in Jerusalem as this paper’s correspondent I have made a concerted effort to get fit. After a few years on the foreign desk in London, and consequently getting little exercise, sleep, vegetables, etc, I thought I’d shed a few pounds by running round my new home.

We are two hours ahead here and if I get up at a reasonable time for a jog, I can easily be back in time for when London wakes. So for nearly two months, despite some uncharacteristic weather and being attacked by a pack of dogs, I have been donning my prehistoric trainers a few times a week. I’ve lost a scintilla of weight (possibly), and, despite a sore calf muscle, I feel quite fit.

I was even getting smug about my new svelteness until last Friday when I went out for breakfast only to be confronted by barriers at the end of my road. The reason: the Jerusalem Marathon. Now, I may have managed two or three miles wheezing around my neighbourhood, but these guys were seriously fit. One man, who must have been 30 years my senior, was racing up the nearest hill at a speed I haven’t yet approached – and that would be downhill with a following wind, and he still had 15 or so miles to go.