The 26-mile race to be held on April 9 follows the path of the Benjamite who ran to tell Eli of the capture of the Ark of the Covenant (1 Samuel 4). From the official website:
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. At the end of the war between the Israelites and the Philistines, the “man of Benjamin” runs from the battlefield at Eben Ezer (modern day Rosh Ha’ayin) to Shiloh, city of the shrine. His runner’s mission is to inform Eli the priest of Israel’s defeat in this war, the falling of his sons, and the capture of the Ark of the Covenant.
Many centuries later, after the Six Day War, 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). In the 1970s, Yekutieli initiated various marathons in the wake of the Biblical “man of Benjamin”. It is truly amazing, the thought that if only someone had informed the Baron de Coubertin, founder of the 42 km Olympic run, of the Biblical story, then perhaps instead of “marathon” it would be called one of the following: Shiloh Race, Man of Benjamin, or Bible Race.
More details here.
Photo by Barry Beitzel, available in the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands