Three weeks from today, Israel will host the first Bible Marathon, inspired by that other historic, and lesser-known, run.
One of the first runs recorded in human history - long before the "marathon" told of in Greek mythology - is mentioned in the Bible, in the beginning of the book of Samuel, where it is written: "Then a man of Benjamin ran from the battle line the same day, and came to Shiloh with his clothes torn."
The "man of Benjamin" ran from Eben Ezer to ancient Shiloh to tell of the end of the war between the Israelites and the Philistines. The runner's mission was to inform Eli, the high priest of Israel, of the defeat in the war, the death of his sons and the capture of the Ark of the Covenant.
Many centuries later, in the 1970s, the founder of the Maccabiah games, Yosef Yekutieli, set out to measure the length of the course from Rosh Ha'ayin to Shiloh, in the Benjamin region. He was amazed to find that the length of this historic path precisely matched that of the modern marathon - 42 kilometers (the official length of the Olympic running contest, determined in 1908 at the London Olympics).