JRunners Have a Blast at the 2013 NYC Marathon
The New York Road Runners Club may have been proud of its 50,000 runners at the 43rd staging of the NYC Marathon, but JRunners must have been prouder of its 30 official runners at the 30th staging of the International Marathon Minyan.
The sweeping energy of the race began there before the runners hit the course and were swept along by the wind.
They came from places as far west as Passaic, NJ and from as far east as Brooklyn, NY. Oh, just kidding, they also were from out-there places like Clifton and Queens.
A crowd of 150, or more, attended the three minyamin that JRunners fielded in partnership with retired army chaplain Peter Berkowsky, the founder of the minyan. Bagels and coffee and camaraderie were served in generous heapings.
Among the crowd was Aharon Karov, whose story is well known, as an Israeli soldier who survived horrors and catastrophe during Operation Cast Lead, and had come to the U.S. 5 years later to run the marathon and raise money for Team One Family.
After the class photo, the runners fanned out to their respective corrals and destinies into the swirling winds, beaten-to-smithereens roads, and jubilant crowds. When the dust settled, the number one comment on everyone’s lips was not “That was awesome,” or “I broke my PR!,” or “That was rough, but fun,” or “Ouch.” No, it was, “What award do I get?”
You get these:
The Geoffrey Mutai First Place Award: Steven Lacob. It cannot be a coincidence that the winner of the NYC Marathon and the winner among the JRunners are both physically similar at 3’2”, 76 lbs. The wind tried to have its way with them, but they wouldn’t have it. Steven’s goal was to average 6:50 for as long as he could before blowing up. That’s exactly what he did, averaging 6:50 until mile 19 before going into maintenance for the last 7 miles.
The Tsegaye Kebede Second Place Award: Steven Weber. Steven W. lasted a bit longer than Steven L. before blowing up, running a nice pace – with a frustrating streetfight with the Queensboro Bridge as an interlude – until mile 22 before tailing off to a time any of us would sell our Keflezighis to attain.
The Lusapho April Third Place Award: Matt Katz. AKA the Patrick Swayze He’s Like the Wind Award. Matt took third, and deserves this award, but we haven’t heard from him at press time. Hence, he’s like the wind, in addition to having run like it. Apropos, wethinks.
The Priscah Jeptoo First Lady Award: Judith Sambol. Judith may have run the steadiest race of them all. She completed the first 5k of the race at an 8:21 clip, and completed the race at an 8:32 clip. The significant contributory dip? You guessed it, The Queensboro Bridge. We don’t like that bridge.
The Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award: Solomon Babani. Of the large JRunner pack, Solomon put in the best time for a first-time marathoner ever! This despite a 30-second TMI stop on the Verrazzano Bridge and a 90-second photo shoot with friends. May you go from PR to PR and from strength to strength!
The Barack Obama Teachable Moment Award: Moishie Gamss. About 34 seconds after the completion of his race, Moishie posted the following on Facebook, which I include in its entirety, unedited, so he gets his full props for being so funny:
“Things I learnt from this year’s NYC Marathon:
1. How to say “Don’t urinate off of the bridge” in 21 languages
2. Running 2 marathons in 3 weeks is not easy (depending who you are), but IS doable.
3. 1st Avenue is one of the best places on Earth.
4. If you cramp up and grimace as you enter Central Park, photographers will catch you.
5. It’s better to run through a cramp than to walk through it (physically, not inspirationally)
6. It’s not always a smart move attempting a backflip at the finish line of a race.
7. #6 did not apply today (not a great flip but didn’t kill myself)
8. Mitchum deoderant is unbelievable.
Final time: 3:46:54 (not as fast as I was @ Steamtown [certainly not a PR] but can’t complain given the lack of training and proximity to the last marathon)
I’m a Marathon Maniac!!! (2 marathon in 4 weeks or less)”
The Jon Bon Jovi Halfway There…We’ll Make It I Swear Award: Yitzy Sontag. Yitzy reached the halfway point of his Gold Level Marathon Maniac status (4 marathons in 37 days) ambitions. He completed the Marine Corps Marathon two weeks ago, set a PR at New York, and is tackling Harrisburg next week and Philadelphia the week after. He can do it. He’s young, single, and has great abs.
The Psalm 98 Joy to the World Award: Adam Orlow. It’s hard to tell if Adam was in an awesome mood because he ran so well or if he ran so well because he was in an awesome mood. It doesn’t matter, he was beaming all day, and the pictures proved it. He ran a great race all the way to the end, never hitting the wall. He actually improved his time from the first 5k (8:59) to the end (8:54). That’s right, he negative split.
The Allen Funt Candid Camera Award: Yisroel Pupko. Yisroel took fun pics and vids all over the course. At one point, he ran right into Mark Izhak, smack dab in middle of taking pics and vids himself! Ask him to send ‘em to you. They’re fun.
The The Whispers Rock Steady All Day Long Award: Eli Friedman. Eli had a just-below-4 PR of 3:59:19, which he wanted to crack, but didn’t know if he had enough training miles in him. No matter, he ran a very steady race, starting off at 8:50 per mile, and finishing at 9:04, getting him the new PR (by 1:50) he was gunning for.
The First of the Dynasty Ba’al HaTanya Award: Aaron Popack. There was quite a large Lubavitch contingent represented, including several who ran in clusters, perhaps drafting off each other’s beards. Aaron came in first from all of them, but he wasn’t the first South African – that would be Steven Lacob.
The Black Eyed Peas Time of my Life Award: Martin Bodek. Martin had so much fun from pre-beginning to post-end of the race. He met his idol, Dean Karnazes, at the expo and engaged with him meaningfully, he enjoyed running into friends all over the course, he busted his PR by 3:55, then he ate junk food for two days. Why the Black Eyed Peas version as opposed to the song from Dirty Dancing? Because the video and the beat are awesomer.
The Insane Clown Posse Welcome to the Show Award: Isaac Galena. Isaac, of bangitout.com fame, decided to sign up as a JRunner. We couldn’t be happier that he’s officially joined our fold. Welcome aboard Isaac! You’re gonna love it here! Note: we call each other “bro” whether we’re male or female. Get used to it.
The Peter Frampton Show Me the Way Award: Paul Kentor. Paul signed up with Achilles to guide a young gentleman towards the finish line. He signed up to do the same thing for the same person earlier this year in Boston, but due to the unfortunate circumstances, they could not finish the race. They used New York to do just that. Bravo Paul! Thanks for showing us the way as well!
The Ansel Adams Prolific Photography Award: Mark Izhak. Mark took more photos and videos than MarathonFoto, the official photo/videographer of the NYC Marathon. He then crashed Facebook’s servers when he uploaded them all. The next day, he endured humiliation from the soldiers he bootcamps every morning. A sore, limping drill sergeant. We’d like to see that in a movie.
The Evanescence Bring Me Back to Life Award: Shia Itzkowitz. Shia ran 24 miles in good spirits, then got wrecked and took a half hour to compete the rest of the race. When he crossed the finish line, he spotted Yitzy Sontag – who started the race in a completely different corral – and collapsed onto him. Yitzy dragged him along until Shia’s legs recovered from their spasming. Yitzy, as mentioned, ran Marine Corps last week, and exemplified Semper Fi.
The Homer Simpson Beer-dar Award: Chaim Backman. We don’t know how he does it. The rest of us scan the crowds for beer stops, finding none. He runs marathons and seemingly finds every single one. We hear he’s putting up his homing device on eBay for use at the Brooklyn Marathon.
Our proud finishers, of whom we’re collectively proud, are as follows:
First Name Last Name Time Pace
STEVEN LACOB 3:10:43 7:17
STEVEN WEBER 3:23:41 7:47
MATT KATZ 3:32:17 8:07
JOEL MANDEL 3:32:20 8:07
JUDITH SAMBOL 3:43:20 8:32
MARC GAMSS 3:46:54 8:40
YITZY SONTAG 3:48:16 8:43
SOLOMON BABANI 3:49:20 8:46
ADAM ORLOW 3:52:59 8:54
YISROEL PUPKO 3:53:36 8:55
HOWARD TEPLER 3:54:05 8:57
MICHAEL WEBER 3:56:46 9:03
ELI FRIEDMAN 3:57:29 9:04
AARON POPACK 3:59:23 9:09
MARTIN BODEK 4:04:41 9:21
DAVID COLMAN 4:05:49 9:23
DENA NIERENBERG 4:08:31 9:30
ISAAC GALENA 4:12:58 9:40
MARK SANDERS 4:17:38 9:50
JACOB VORCHHEIMER 4:20:52 9:58
PAUL KENTOR 4:23:52 10:03
JOSEPH HERMAN 4:29:42 10:18
MARK IZHAK 4:31:34 10:22
JOSHUA ITZKOWITZ 4:37:19 10:36
DAVID TESSLER 4:48:42 11:02
MENDEL LAKEIN 5:06:54 11:43
CHANAN FELDMAN 5:08:50 11:48
CHAIM BACKMAN 5:08:54 11:48
ARIEL KOHANE 5:12:42 11:57
JACOB GRANEK 5:33:09 12:43
After the finish line, JRunners scored another coup: The Shearith Israel Synagogue AKA the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue AKA The Oldest Jewish Congregation in New York City was used as the dropoff stop for everyone’s tefillin and for non-stop round-robin Mincha Minyanim.
What a great, fun, inspiring day for our club. Join us every Wednesday for our group run! Join us on 12/1 for our next 5k!: https://www.jrunnersclub.org/health-awareness-5k/
Martin Bodek is our Beat Reporter, whose book about the JRunners Relay Race was just offered in a giveaway on goodreads.com. 468 entered the contest. See what they found so compelling: http://www.lulu.com/shop/martin-bodek/54-runners-54-stories-the-tale-of-the-2012-200k-jrunners-relay-race/paperback/product-21097323.html