Faster than light rail. Michael Spivak in action
Photo: Amit Shabi

Runner races Jerusalem tram – and wins

Amateur athlete decides to test theory that capital's new light rail is as slow as a turtle

It may be light, but in the meantime it's very slow. After hearing complaints from passengers that the Jerusalem light rail was as slow as a turtle, a young Jerusalem man decided to race the tram in order to test that theory.


The complaints proved to be right, as he managed to beat the train in a pretty effortless jog.


It took about 12 years before the Jerusalem light rail was introduced, during which the city's residents suffered from noise, dust, digs, blocked roads and traffic jams.


The streetcar welcomed its first passengers two weeks ago, but soon proved to be a great disappointment. Those who expected a swift, smooth and elegant ride were met with a slow and cumbersome vehicle.


The Jerusalem Municipality has promised that the train's operation will improve, but in the meantime it appears that passengers could get to places faster by jogging.

Michael Spivak, 28, an amateur athlete and a communications and business administration student at Hebrew University, has been following the light rail's endless construction work over the past few years.


Like many Jerusalem residents, he watched it make its first journeys in recent weeks. "It is really as slow as a turtle, or am I just imagining?" he asked himself.


"I saw the tram move, I was told that it's slow, and when I got on it I realized it was true. It was clear to me that I could beat it – if not walking, then at least in a not-too-strenuous jog."


In order to verify his feelings, he decided to race the tram and see who would cover the 13.8-kilometer (8.5-mile) route, from Mount Herzl to the Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood, first.


You guessed it: He won, arriving four minutes before the light rail. And this isn't an Olympic athlete we're talking about. Spivak was required to run at a pace of five minutes per kilometer – the pace of a totally amateur runner.


For the sake of comparison, in the Olympic 10-kilometer run, competitors cover each kilometer in less than three minutes.


Was it just by chance? Spivak doesn't think so. He says he drew the inspiration to race the tram from his brother, who is part of a Jerusalem jogging group which raises funds for sick and needy people.



פרסום ראשון: 09.04.11, 07:45
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