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Israel’s 300 days of sunshine per year make the country a great destination for travelers to experience outdoor activities and get involved with world-class sporting events. In the coming year, Israel’s state-of-the-art facilities will be hosting a wide range of marathons and fitness competitions, and athletes from around the world will be able to participate in a number of events that will challenge their physical and mental willpower.
First up is the 18th Herzliya Women’s Triathlon, which is one of the largest sporting events for women in Israel. On May 18, participants from around the world will come to this event to swim, bike and run along the Mediterranean beaches located just a 10-minute drive north of Tel Aviv. www.women-tri.com
Israel’s quadrennial competition, the Maccabiah Games, which begin on July 16 and run through the July 30, is a competition ranked among the world’s top sporting events. The games will showcase top athletes competing in track and field, tennis and fencing competitions, to name a few, at various stadiums and venues around Israel. www.maccabiah.com
July 27 to Aug. 8, the world’s top 24 men’s and women’s volleyball teams will converge on Israel for the CEV U20 Beach Volleyball Championships on Tel Aviv’s Gordon Beach for a two-week tournament. www.cev.lu/mmp/online
For the first time ever, Eilat will host the Youth Sailing World Championship, a prestigious sailing competition, on Dec. 27. This event is expected to attract more than 2,000 sailors from Israel and around the world. www.sailing.org
The Israman Competition, a two-day event taking place Jan. 20-21, 2012, is ranked by USA Triathlete Magazine as one of the world’s top triathlons. The competition will challenge athletes with a 2½-mile swim, a 111-mile cycle route and a full 26.2-mile marathon. Athletes can also participate in a half-distance Israman Competition, as well. www.israman.co.il
Lastly, the 2nd Jerusalem International Marathon is an event that will take place March 16, 2012. The critically applauded Jerusalem Marathon will take runners through a landscape rich in history around the Old City’s holy sites, including Mount Scopus and the Knesset and finishing in Sacher Park. www.jerusalemmarathon.com