Navigation Menu+

JRunners Have a (Heat)Blast at the 2015 NYC Marathon

Posted on Nov 5, 2015 by in Musings | 0 comments

The heat (and the crowding) was the story of the day at the 45th running of the NYC Marathon. It caused everyone, from elites to average joes and janes, to slow way down for the second half of the race. Nary a negative split was to be found (save for Rebecca Schwartz – wow).

Nevertheless, the 32nd staging of the International Marathon Minyan brought a healthy dose of great camaraderie, coupled with our valued partnership with minyan founder/retired Air Force JAG officer Peter Berkowsky. 30 brave, hardy souls (exact same as the last two years!) – out of the 150 in attendance at the three minyanim (which makes the 30 so apropos!) – made a great show of it on the course.

Most interesting were the sheer numbers of NYC Marathons each of the runners has finished. It’s worth mentioning here. From most to hey-this-is-my-first-time-Woohoo!, the chart is as follows:

Ariel Kohane               19

Martin Bodek              17

Judith Sambol             14

Ruth Liebowitz           10

Adam Orlow               7

Dena Nierenberg         6

Matt Katz                    5

Steven Rosenbaum     5

Rivkie Zalmanov         5

Eli Friedman               4

Chaim Backman          3

Isaac Galena                3

Yisroel Pupko             3

Chaim Tepler               3

Jacob Vorchheimer     3

Chanan Feldman         2

Julian Maxwell            2

Shaina Nemtzov          2

Glenn Pfeiffer             2

David Roher               2

Eva Rothberg              2

Lesley Schofield         2

Rebecca Schwartz       2

Scott Smith                 2

David Balassiano        1

Joe Bootin                   1

Mandy Rosenberg       1

Joel Sandel                  1

Gene Sobol                 1

Many of the runners earned virtual awards for their great, gutsy performances. You can get one by googling the award name, grabbing the first picture that comes up, and having it 3D printed at Target (I think that’s how it works). They break down as follows:

The Stanley Biwott Men’s Race First Place Award: Steven Rosenbaum. Steven was our sole sub-3:00 participant. He averaged 6:42 per mile for the run, and looked great doing it. Check out his pics on (actually, do that for all the runners. How they look tells a lot of their story! For example, Joe Bootin, who we’ll get to shortly). His story doesn’t end there though, because he and his wife, Judith Sambol, also get The Adam and Kara Goucher The Couple Who Runs Together Stays Together Award. Get this,after he was done with his race, he stretched, went home, showered, came back out to the course, put his son on his shoulders, held up a poster, and waited for his wife to come by at mile 24. How ‘bout that!

The Geoffery Kamworor Men’s Race Second Place Award: Eli Friedman. Eli was the biggest PR-destroyer of the day, coming in at 22:36 faster than his previous best. His secret? He lost 25 pounds, changed his diet, and moved to the city. Meshaneh makom, meshaneh mazel, so I think the last factor was the cause of his success. Makes sense, no?

The Lelisa Desisa Men’s Race Third Place Award: Matt Katz. Matt is a busy runner this year. This was his 6th marathon (and he won two of ‘em!), with more upcoming! He was also the 3rd fastest Katz of the day out of 13! I find that kind of factoid interesting, as I did last year. I researched common surnames of our finishers again, and this is how we did with any runner who had at least four others with the same name on the course:

Rosenbaum: 1st out of 5.

Friedman: 2nd out of 12.

Katz: 3rd out of 13.

Smith: 29th out of 174.

Maxwell: 2nd out of 4.

Feldman: 6th out of 7.

Rosenberg: 11th out of 14.

The Mary Keitany Women’s Race First Place Award: Rebecca Schwartz. Rebecca is a busy woman herself. This was her 4th marathon of the year (and she won one!), in addition to a 50k and 50-miler. Watch out, she’s got a 12-hour race coming up, which several JRunners will be tackling as well, including Yours Truly. My odds are on Rebecca to smoke the whole group.

The Aselefech Mergia Women’s Race Second Place Award: Eva Rothberg. Eva ran a strong race. After qualifying for Boston at Steamtown for the second consecutive year, she pushed through NYC, despite promising herself to run no more than one marathon per year. So much for that. Also, she has a cameo in the official NYRR marathon video at the 3:03 mark: Blink and you missed her, so don’t blink.

The Tigist Tufa Women’s Race Third Place Award: Lesley Schofield. Lesley ran MCM last week, NYCM now, and PHM in two weeks. At this pace, she’s doing 39 marathons a year. Somebody stop her! Actually, nobody do that, because guess what she’s training for? Comrades! She needs all the marathons she can get!

The Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award:  David Balassiano. David was the fastest first-timer of our pack, but there’s more to the story than just that, because he’s also this year’s recipient of The Francisco Liriano Comeback Player of the Year Award. See, this was his fourth try at getting in. Year one? Hurricane Sandy. Year two? Injury. Year three? Injury. Then finally, paydirt. Congratulations David, on sticking with it and putting on a great show.

The Tracy Reid Rookie of the Year Award:  Mandy Rosenberg. Over in the women’s division, nobody ran faster than Mandy – and she even outran herself. She ran the Pittsburgh Marathon in May, but beat her time by 15 minutes! Way to go!

First of the Dynasty Ba’al HaTanya Award: Rivkie Zalmanov. This award is given to the first Lubavitcher – from an always large contingent – to cross the finish line. I can’t even remember how this got started and why we do this, but give the man his props.

Psalm 98 Joy to the World Award: Adam Orlow.Adam won this award the past two years due to his various expressions of joy, positivity, and gratitude. It’s a chazakah now, and even if it wasn’t, it’s kind of like the Gold Glove Award. Once a guy earns a couple, he’s in for life, no matter what upstart might show up. Also, he and I are tied now with 24 lifetime marathons, and we’re going to tussle for a long time. When I beat him, he’ll still be joyful.

The Black Eyed Peas Time of my Life Award: Martin Bodek. I gave myself this award the past two years and I’m doing so again, because I had a great time again, and I can do whatever I want with these awards, so nyah nyah. But seriously, I loved hanging out with my JRunners friends and loved having my family along the course again. This is my way of giving a big, fat thank you to everyone, and an even bigger, fatter hug. I love you all.

The Robert Downey Jr. Ironman Award: David Roher. If it looks like Ironman, is an Ironman, and dresses like Ironman on Purim and at Comic Con, then it’s Ironman. Ever seen David? There is no doubt whose pic he should be using on Facebook’s Doppelganger Day. He suited up as Tony Stark’s alter ego for the race and had tons of runners ask to take a pic with him. But that’s not why I admire him. He gets my respect because he landed beer during the race (whilst I couldn’t find any). That’s what happens when you run alongside Chaim Backman, who never fails to deliver.

The Evanescence Bring Me Back to Life Award: Joe Bootin. This award is given annually to the runner who endures the worst beatdown, but perseveres and finishes anyway. It is AKA The Timex Takes a Licking and Keeps on Ticking Award. Joe’s race included dehydration, severe cramps in his left leg, four trips to the medical tent (3 during and 1 after), and collapsing two feet after the finish line. Check out those pictures on They’re not very pretty, but his effort was gorgeous, and he lives.

Our heat-battered and much-elbowed-out-of-the-way, but proud, finishers are as follows:

First Last Time
MATT KATZ 3:33:14
GENE SOBOL 3:59:25
ADAM ORLOW 4:00:16
JOE BOOTIN 5:17:39

Congratulations everyone!

After the finish line, JRunners scored another coup yet again: 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. Heat shmeat! Crowd shmowd! Everyone was amazing!

Martin Bodek is the JRunners Beat Reporter, who writes books from 5-9 (so when does he have time to write articles?). This is his latest: Your interest will flatter him to death.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *