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Running stories: London Marathon runners tell all

Tales from the 26 miles - and the emotive reasons why they ran

    Bronte Snow running for Kisharon
    Bronte Snow running for Kisharon

    The hundreds of thousands of pounds raised by Jewish London Marathon participants will make life miles better for cash-strapped communal charities.

    At Norwood — whose 20 runners brought in nearly £60,000 — chief executive Elaine Kerr noted: “The money from fundraisers such as our magnificent marathon runners is now more important than ever to those we support. We are so grateful for their incredible efforts.”

    A similar sum was raised by Chai Cancer Care’s 10 runners, including Michael Jaeger (4:38), whose father “passed away in 2016 after losing his battle with lymphoma. Since he lived in Israel, he didn’t benefit from Chai’s phenomenal services but I wanted to raise money for Chai in his name.”

    Neil Sapler (5:45) said his inspiration was partly friends who had recently been diagnosed with cancer talking about the difference made by Chai’s “fantastic work. And at Yom Kippur, the shul we attended [Southend and Westcliff Hebrew Congregation] selected Chai as their charity and I was so impressed by the services and support available to those impacted by cancer.”

    Darrel Yawitch (3:16), James Steele (5:07), Ben Radstone (4:17), Richard Silver (4:55), Ricki Stone (5:51) and husband and wife Elliott and Tash Stern.

    Also keeping it in the family were marathon regulars Lauren and Jonathan Barr, whose run was a memorable way to celebrate their 28th wedding anniversary. But this time they were joined by daughters Sabrina ( 24) and Sadie (18), who ran together and raised £4,500-plus for North London Hospice, in memory of their grandma Valerie Barr.

    From marathons since 2010, the family has raised £61,000, mainly for the hospice and Chai.

    Camp Simcha supporter Marc Cohen went the extra mile for the charity — 26 in fact. Having completed the Manchester Marathon, the 31-year-old doubled up in London to thank the charity for supporting his four-year-old nephew Jake, who is receiving treatment for neuroblastoma, a cancer that forms in certain types of nerve tissue.

    “I wanted to do something for Camp Simcha as they have been incredible to my family. I decided to do the double marathon to raise extra money.”

    After finishing in 4:10, slower than his Manchester time, Mr Cohen said: “My legs felt great after Manchester and I even went out and did a half-marathon last weekend. But I was not so prepared for the heat.

    “The last 12 miles were a bit of a battle but I knew I had loads of family at the end so that really got me through it.”

    Camp Simcha raised a total £42,000 from a team also including Abraham Amselem, Isaac Bentata, Yiddy Gertner, Katherine Hinchcliffe, Evan Morris, Jonny Phillips, Mel Ross and Michael Seitler.

    Mr Morris (3:31) ran as part of a year of challenges to mark the milestone of his son Jared’s 5th year in remission following a diagnosis of Burkett’s lymphoma in 2013.

    “I wanted to say thanks for everything they did for Jared, for making him smile when he was at his worst and for providing a respite from the chemo, the drugs, the tests and the months in hospital.”

    For Jewish Women’s Aid supporter Daniel Jacob, “that walk at mile 14” made him reflect on the women JWA assists.

    “At a time when they need to find the depths of their resilience and fortitude, it is JWA which represents the crowd cheering them on, helping them meet the challenges they face and telling them they are awesome.

    “Could I have completed the marathon without the crowd? Absolutely not. I hate to think how people who need JWA would be able to meet their challenge without the level of support JWA gives.”

    Mr Jacobs finished in 4:47, raising £2,300-plus for JWA. He has become an advocate for the charity, which he feels more men should support.

    For Michael Freeman, the marathon was a break from his duties as counsellor for civil society affairs at the Israeli embassy.

    Running for UJIA, he raised more than £2,500 and came home in 5:39.

    “After I made aliyah, I worked with UJIA in Israel,” he explained. “I saw first hand the incredible work they do and the changes they were making to people’s lives.”

    The sweltering conditions proved challenging for Wizo’s marathon entrant Naomi Reynolds (5:10), whose £2,500 in sponsorship included a contribution from her employer, Vodafone.

    Having “cruised through” the first half of the course, she suffered heat exhaustion in the final stretch and had to walk the final four miles. “But the crowd were amazing and it was so great to run for Wizo and know I was raising so much money for a great charity.”

    A Wizo spokeswoman explained that Ms Reynolds, who is not Jewish, came to the rescue when Wizo’s original entrant had to pull out of the event. “We didn’t want to lose that place so we posted a message on Twitter and Naomi stepped up to the mark. It was amazing of her and we are delighted.”

    Laura Marks raised £9,000 for Chana, supporting Jewish couples with fertility problems.

    Her own IVF treatment worked first time and her twins are now nine. Given that a round of IVF costs £8,000, she hopes her marathon effort will result in a birth for another couple.

    Emunah runner Dan Brazil had additional motivation. Holidaying in Israel last summer, he couldn’t get into his swimming trunks and decided he needed to lose weight and get fit. Now some four stone lighter, he gets up at the crack of dawn each day to go running.

    Mr Brazil finished his first marathon in 4:29, describing it as “an experience I’ll never forget.

    “The atmosphere was brilliant with all the people shouting out your name.”

    Sarah Tarzi and marathon veteran Flora Frank also ran for the Israeli welfare charity, the latter in memory of husband Herbert, who passed away six months ago.

    “This was my 37th marathon and my hardest,” she said. “It took longer than usual because the heat got to me so I went very, very slowly. People were so kind and came out of their homes with water.” Emunah raised around £10,000 from its marathon team.

    There were strong connections between Jewish Care and its six runners, among them barrister James Fox, 28, whose late grandma Renee Hassell was a resident at the charity’s Clore Manor home in Hendon.

    “When Renee lived at Clore Manor, I saw first-hand the fantastic work Jewish Care does to support so many people and families in our community,” he said. “I felt utterly compelled to run the marathon to show my appreciation.”

    Internal recruitment manager Sarah Myers, 37, also ran for Jewish Care along with her friend Mich Preston, 39, a research director. Ms Myers’ mother, Wendy Stollerman, works in the charity’s Family Carers service; her grandma attends Jewish Care’s Connect@Centre in Southgate for more independent older people.

    Ms Preston said the marathon had been “harder than I thought but I loved it. We both have three kids and work four days a week so squeezing in training has been the biggest struggle. Our families have been amazing — the kids have been fundraising in the playground.”

    Lawyer Josh Domb, 28, has been inspired to run three marathons in two years by the support of Jewish Care for his grandma Diane, who has dementia and lives in its Otto Schiff home in Golders Green.

    Mr Domb — one of the quicker charity finishers in 3:11 — said afterwards: “I have always taken huge comfort from the standard of care Jewish Care provides to my grandma on so many levels. It makes the world of difference.”

    Lauren Waterman, 27, ran in memory of her grandma Barbara Waterman, who died last year aged 84. Barbara Waterman was a Jewish Care volunteer for virtually half-a-century and her granddaughter raised funds for the Brenner Centre at Stepney Jewish Community Centre where Mrs Waterman was so heavily involved, “making it her mission to support the community and put a smile on members’ faces.

    “She loved making sure the members’ tea cups were always topped up as she served them with a smile. For this reason, my fundraising will primarily be going towards the kitchen, which will be named Barbara’s Kitchen in her memory.”

    Around £28,500 was raised by team, completed by Chris Ezekiel, whose grandparents Lily and Raymond Ezekiel were cared for at Jewish Care’s Rubens home in Ilford.

    “Jewish Care looked after my nan and grandad so well that running the marathon to help others in our community who rely on their services is a way to show my appreciation,” he said.

    Cramp got to Leeds Jewish Welfare Board runner Richard Sherman after 11 miles but he managed to limp through the remaining fifteen, completing in 5:43. “It was great getting the medal around my neck,” he said.

    Suzanne Shenderey (4:35) also ran for LJWB alongside Michelle Kristall-Monnickendam (4:33). For Lloyd Rakusen, 70, who came home in 5:54, his 21st marathon was one of his most difficult. “But the LJWB team worked together to raise much needed funds.”

    Philip Rakusen and Katy Higgins (both 6.46) completed the welfare board contingent.

    Kisharon’s marathon team has raised £32,000 for the special needs charity. Its members included father and son Sam and Bernard Fromson, who finished together in 5:16, and Shlomi Rokach, manager of Kosher Kingdom in Golders Green, who recorded 3:53. Ron Korczak (4:27), Shimon Lev (3:43) and Bronte Snow (6:36) also ran for Kisharon.

    Lawyer Micah Smith completed his second marathon raising £3,000 for the Friends of the Bereaved Families Forum, a UK charity supporting reconciliation projects in Israel and Palestine. Joshua Rosen (5:05) ran in aid of the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

    Jessica Myers ran for Guy’s Trust, honouring the memory of Guy Joseph — marine biologist, scuba instructor, paraglider and all-round adventurer — who died, aged 25, in a paragliding accident in Spain in 2011.

    Sunday's race was Simeon Barnett's fifth marathon, and his second in London, and he recorded a personal best 4:15, raising £5,700 for the Anthony Nolan organisation.

     

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