The Dead Sea is actually a 605-square-kilometer lake, landlocked by Israel, Jordan and Israel’s West Bank, and is the lowest point on earth, at 1400 feet below sea level. It earned its name because its 332 percent salinity, ten times that of the oceans, prevents any macroscopic aquatic organisms, such as fish and water plants, to live in it.
But its unique combination of salt and minerals is also a welcome benefit to those who swim in it – they easily float in its buoyant waters and, the best part is, the swimmer reaps the benefits of the water’s therapeutic properties.
When my siblings and I visited the Dead Sea several years ago, swimming was the first thing we all did. I wanted to try out if I would really float on it. And I did! In fact, I was reading a book while floating effortlessly on the lake. After swimming, my sisters gave themselves a facial using the muddy soil on the shoreline because our tour guide told us that some enterprising Israelis bottle the saline-and-mineral-rich soil from the beach and sell it as very effective facial and skin cleansers.
We enjoyed ourselves swimming in the water and relaxing on the beach, taking note of the lifeguard’s reminder that we should not stay in the water for more than 15 minutes at any given time, otherwise, our skin will get very soft and would easily be vulnerable to sharp or pointed things. Our frolic at the Dead Sea was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Now comes the good news that I gathered from the Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, of which I am one of the trustees. Israel is now accepting registrants to next year’s Dead Sea Marathon which offers participants a unique running experience in an area that is closed to the public and used only for the purpose of the marathon.
Israel constructed on the Dead Sea, as a pathway for the marathon, a long, narrow, dirt embankment, mixed with asphalt, traversing the lake onto the other side, the boundary of Jordan. This path is flanked by the salty waters of the wide open Dead Sea, giving participants a unique, almost surreal experience. No other marathon event in the world gives participants this rare familiarity with such a picturesque background while competing for the honor and the valuable prizes that go with winning the sports event.
The present-day Dead Sea Marathon has evolved from the old Ein Gedi race which, for over 30 years, hosted thousands of runners from all over Israel. These runners have been participating in the race year in and year out, most probably mesmerized by the beautiful scenery that comes with the event. A wide range of courses is available to all categories of runners – 5km, 10km, 21.1km, 42km, and the 50km Ultra Marathon, which is under the auspices of the Israel Athletic Association.
The attractive photos on this page will give you an idea of what to expect when participating in this unique sports event. If you are interested in registering for the 2024 edition of the Dead Sea Marathon which is scheduled in February, or need additional information, click on https://deadsea.run/en
This brings me to my question – with all the tourists flocking to the Dead Sea all throughout the year, and the thousands who participate in the marathon, how can something with so much life, vigor, and excitement be called ‘Dead’?
YOUR MONDAY CHUCKLE:
A good-looking lady went to see a psychiatrist for her first session. The doctor motioned for her to lie down on the couch, but she refused. The doctor explained to her, for several minutes, why she would have to do it, she finally lay down, smoothed her dress around her legs, and began to relax a bit. “Now then, how did your trouble begin?” the psychiatrist asked. With a concerned tone in her voice, the lady answered, “Just like this.”
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