Winner ends Tel Aviv race by shedding his shoes

"My feet were sore," he said after the race. "It's hard running without shoes, but I had to find a solution."

Nadayisenga, who finished 18th in the world cross-country championships in Marrakech, Morocco, clocked a relatively slow time of one hour, four minutes and 56 seconds, and launched the flood of complaints about the reliability of the 13-mile route.

"This course was longer by [330 feet]," Nadayisenga said.

His running partner, Kipkering Philemon Metto, a Kenyan and the course record-holder, finished second in 1:05:06. He put the error of judgment at six-tenths of a mile.

Hapoel race officials were quick to dismiss claims of any wrongdoing at the post-race press conference. Eytan Hefer, manager of the organizing committee, said the course had been measured by a professional team, including an engineer brought in from Germany.

The first Israeli runner to finish was Wodage Zevede in 1:07:08.

The women's race was won by Kore Alemu from Ethiopia in 1:16:31, with Israeli Ella Krimus second in 1:20:14 and Tatiana Prokopchuk from Ukraine third in 1:21:23.

National marathon champion Nili Avramski placed fourth in 1:21:34.

Avramski, the voice of local athletes, called for the race to be returned to the heart of Tel Aviv, complaining of "boredom and a lack of support."

While this year's north Tel Aviv route largely eliminated the traffic snarls of previous years, the route was marked by a total absence of supporters.

Chairman of the marathon Avraham Almog also was adamant that the race be returned to the downtown area.

"We hope and believe we can persuade the Tel Aviv mayor to move the race back," he said.