Some 35,000 runners from 72 countries participated in the eighth annual Jerusalem Marathon, which began at 6:45am Friday and will continue until 2pm.

Kenyan runner Shadrack Kipkogey finished the marathon first in 2 hours, 21 minutes and 27 seconds.

Magen David Adom and police forces spread out throughout the race’s route to ensure the marathon’s security and care for the runners’ well-being, if necessary. Traffic police, meanwhile, directed drivers to alternate routes due to multiple road closures.

Last year it was reported that the number of international runners showed a marked increase on previous years, with a surge of entries following the US decision to recognise Jerusalem and make plans to move the embassy.

It is estimated that 4,000 of the runners are from other countries, with the rest being Israeli.