When tour guide Yael Goodman leads a group of runners over the bridge by Jerusalem’s Cinematheque, they often stop to gaze out at the scenery and catch their breath. Goodman then usually briefly talks about how this area was once the border between Jordanian-controlled East Jerusalem and Israeli-controlled West Jerusalem before the 1967 Six Day War. “This was really a no-man’s land,” she often explains at this point, one of the dozens of places she pauses in the city as she leads 7-kilometer long running tours of Jerusalem for RUN JLM, the running tour company she founded in 2019. This route is one of 12 offered around the city in both Hebrew and English. Goodman and RUN JLM’s other guides offer concise descriptions of the city’s history as they pass various sites. “It’s an experience of mind, body and soul,” says Goodman, a Jerusalemite who has been a tour guide since 1999. “It helps people understand and process the complexities of Jerusalem.”
She says running offers a different experience than walking or bus tours. “You can really feel the topography of the city, all its hills,” she says. “I use those ups and downs to talk about different ways the topography influenced history.”
After two decades of working as a tour guide, Goodman founded RUN JLM to combine her passions of running, Jerusalem and guiding in 2019, expecting to cater to English-speaking tourists. But when Covid hit, she also began offering Hebrew tours for Israelis, who have embraced running more in recent years. “Running in Jerusalem and in Israel has become much more popular, it’s a great way to spend time outside,” she says. Tour participants don’t need to run fast, she says, adding that most anyone who enjoys running at any level would enjoy the tour. “It’s not a training run,” she says, adding there are stops for water, bathroom breaks and even a cup of coffee in the Old City. “It’s an educational run. We run through more than a thousand years.”
Tours are available for individuals or groups, and are offered in English or Hebrew. Running tours can be booked online, or by emailing email@example.com, or by calling +972-(0)52-837-2333.