Marathon runners raise six-figures for Jewish charities

Dozens of runners took on this year's marathon for community causes


Communal charity supporters have run up an impressive six-figure total from their participation in Sunday’s London Marathon.

Norwood boasted the biggest contingent with 26 runners, generating a combined £75,000. Among them was Dominic Coleman, 27, who finished in four hours, running in memory of his cousin Max, who died as a result of Covid.

Max was profoundly disabled following an illness in infancy and Coleman said Norwood had been there for him at every stage of his life, from support with equipment and counselling through to access to the Jewish community for him as a disabled adult.

“Norwood has a special place in my heart as the support and care it provided for Max and the whole family was incredible. I want to help them continue to provide that to other families.

“26.2 miles is a long way to run. But it was a lot easier knowing I was raising money for Norwood.”

Coleman said the marathon experience had been “not quite what I expected. I went for a time of 3:15 but at mile 18, I spent 25 minutes with the physio due to a recurring injury. But I was not going to let myself or the charity down so battled through.”

Norwood also fielded some of the quicker charity entrants, such as Jamie Yorke (2:55), James Wade (3:06), Alec Bryant (3:18) and Norwood employee Lewis Walker-Brannon (3:23).

“Working in finance and seeing the impact these funds will have on our services, you realise how important it is,” Walker-Brannon said.

Josh Flax finished in 3:28 and cousins Jacob Lauder and Rafi Herman recorded respective times of 3:47 and 4:27. Having vowed “never again” after completing last year’s race, they signed up again in thanks for Norwood’s ongoing support to cousin/brother Zach.

He was born with a rare syndrome, Worster-Drought, as well as autism and “Norwood have been fundamental in ensuring that he has the physical and emotional care he needs to lead a happy life.” For Herman, the race was “23 good miles then three miles of torture”.

The London event was great-grandmother Flora Franks’s 46th marathon, running in memory of her late husband Herbert and late brother Nissim, who was supported by Norwood at Ravenswood. She crossed the finish line in 7:04.

“I was encouraged by the amazing and fantastic crowds,” she said. “Thank God for helping me complete it.” Frank was also fundraising for Israel welfare charity Emunah, which earned around £6,000 from its quartet of runners, completed by Jason Rosen, Mushkie Kreiman and Claire Gothelf.

Rosen (3:19) said the backing from spectators was the best he had experienced in his 14 marathons.

Leeds-based Gothelf (5:50), a regular Emunah runner, highlighted the spirit among participants. “Everybody helps each other over the line and the atmosphere this year was incredible.”

People in crisis in Ukraine, Turkey and Syria will benefit from the £26,000 raised by World Jewish Relief’s 11-strong team. Ten completed the official route, cheered on by WJR staff including chief executive Paul Anticoni. The eleventh was Masorti rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, who rose at the crack of dawn to complete a marathon-distance challenge in 4:52.

“I’m a big fan of World Jewish Relief and I am glad I am still able to run at age 65 and support its important work,” he said.

Mental health charity Jami raised almost £30,000 from its biggest-ever marathon group.

It was the first year Jami had the support of a corporate team — seven employees from VAT IT, a leading service provider in tax reclaim and compliance. Two even flew in from South Africa to join their co-workers. One Jami runner was Jonathan “Peps” Pepper, who finished in 3:28. He said he had gone through “a very difficult period last year, which I am still working through. My mental health took a massive knock. I wanted to raise awareness of a charity that resonated with my personal experiences.”

Daniel Walters raised £8,000 from his first marathon, finishing in 4:15. Having discussed his choice of beneficiary with his family, “we all agreed it should be Jami because of the vital support it provides to the community and because of the need to raise awareness about poor mental health, which is often overlooked as a serious illness.” He added that “training for a marathon strengthens your own mental wellbeing”.

Four of Jewish Care’s six runners clocked sub-four hour times as they raced to a total £14,000-plus for the charity

Ben Pollock and Rikki Lewis have done previous marathons for the charity in recognition of its care for their loved ones. Lydia Seager, Menachem Breindel, Oscar Spalter and Richard Garnham were first timers.

Lewis, 36, recalled: “My poppa spent the last two years of his life at Jewish Care’s Rosetrees home, a place that enabled him to receive the care, respect and dignity that all people living with dementia deserve. I am raising money in particular for the care home, which offers palliative care and invaluable support to all residents and family members.”

He added that “this marathon felt particularly hard with emotions oscillating from extreme pain to jubilation — but ending with immense pride”.

After finishing in 4:39, Seager exclaimed: “What an amazing day! Running the London Marathon has always been a dream of mine but I am not naturally sporty or athletic. This was a major challenge but I was so excited to raise money for an extremely important charity that makes a huge difference in the lives of so many people.”

Learning disability charity Kisharon’s eight participants raced to a collective total of £15,000.

For Raphael Rose (4:47): “What got me through was determination and resilience — that’s what the pupils of Kisharon have.”

Ezra Faig (3:17) said it had been “such a great thrill. To do it while supporting a wonderful organisation made the experience so much better and carried me to the finish line. It was also a great way to tour the beautiful city of London.”

The other Kisharon finishers were Theo Silverbeck ( 4 : 1 8 ) , Zev Grunwald (4:18), Shlomi Rokach (3:34), Simon Silver (3:47) and Michael Pearl (5:53).

When Danny Tricot turned 50, he decided it was time he ran a marathon and chose to support cancer care charity Chai. Finishing in 3:52, he earned over £19,000 of the £54,000-plus brought in by Chai’s squad of nine.

“I have very close family and friends whose lives were cut short by cancer,” he explained. “I was truly moved when I heard from a couple of them about what Chai had done for them.”

Victor Arotsky (3:26) reflected that “when my dad was diagnosed with cancer, our family was thrown into an unfamiliar world with no instruction manual. Chai were able to act as our onestop shop for advice, support and care. Even after my dad passed away, Chai have continued to support us. I was so proud to be able to help raise some funds for the great work that they do.”

Father and son Darren and Sonny Gayer came home together in 4:50, earning £11,000. “Chai were so kind when it came to my grandfather being ill several years ago and I’ll never forget it,” Sonny Gayer explained.

Other Chai runners were Aryeh Richman (4:32), marathon veteran Ricki Stone (4:53) and the speedy Ben Horn (3:19) whose sister Steph (a physio) “is just one of the many people who contribute to the amazing services that Chai provides”.

The team was completed by Simon Kutner and Lucy Cohen.

Camp Simcha’s duo of Ana Caplan and Netanel Rosen both ran 3:53, raising over £7,000 and Rosen said afterwards that he was already contemplating taking part again next year.

“The atmosphere was beyond amazing and it was an honour to run for Camp Simcha.” Caplan said the marathon had been on her bucket list.

Ronit Fine (5:17) raised over £8,300 for the Boys’ Clubhouse, a cause close to the heart of her brother Dovi, who she ran in memory of.

Ebony Soltani-James (4:40) earned £1,000 for Shaare Zedek UK and the first marathon of Rebecca Stone, 22, generated £2,300 for Action Aid to help empower women in the world’s poorest nations.

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