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JRunners Have a (Wind)Blast at the 2014 NYC Marathon

Posted on Nov 10, 2014 by in Musings | 0 comments

The wind was the story of the day at the 44th running of the NYC Marathon. It caused the elites to collide into each other and caused the daveners to cower together at the 31st staging of the International Marathon Minyan.

For safety reasons, NYRR requested that the minyan tent not install the usual plastic wall because of concerns it would flap away and harm people. This only added to the misery of the 45 MPH Job-ian whirlwinds.

Fortunately, with a healthy dose of great camaraderie, partnership with minyan founder/retired army chaplain Peter Berkowsky, and hit-the-spot bagels sponsored by fellow JRunner Chanan Feldman and also the Friendship Circle of Crown Heights, 30 brave, hardy souls (same as last year!) – out of the 150 in attendance at the three minyanim – made a great show of it on the course.

That was a long, complicated sentence, but I think I got the grammar right.

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               18

Martin Bodek              16

Judith Sambol             12

Ruth Liebowitz           9

Yossi Pancer               8

Adam Orlow               6

Dena Nierenberg         5

Eli Friedman               3

Martin Maltz               3

Connie Fried               2

Dov Gertzulin             2

Ari Herrmann              2

Joel Mandel                 2

Jonathan Pittinsky       2

Yisroel Pupko             2

Mark Sanders              2

Chaim Tepler               2

Jacob Vorchheimer     2

Michael Weber            2

Leah Badian                1

Yossi Cohn                 1

Jonathan Hook            1

Mendel Lakein            1

Malky Mayerfeld        1

Stanley Mayerfeld      1

Shaina Nemtzov          1

Stephen Rutenberg     1

Rebecca Schwartz       1

Scott Smith                 1

Michael Wilhelm         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 Wilson Kipsang Men’s Race First Place Award: Dov Gertzulin. Dov was our sole sub-3:00 participant. He averaged 6:45 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!). He told me they look pretty good except the ones where he’s in pain. I said the ones where he’s in pain are the ones where he looks pretty good!

The Lelisa Desisa Benti Men’s Race Second Place Award: Ari Herrmann. Ari bested his previous PR by 16:25. The zechus? Bringing those Friendship Circle bagels with him. Also, despite such a prestigious award, I think he’ll stick with his own name, notwithstanding the extra consonants. He also receives the annual First of the Dynasty Ba’al HaTanya Award, which is given to the first Lubavitcher – from an always large contingent – to cross the finish line

The Gebre Gebremariam Men’s Race Third Place Award: Scott Smith. Scott PRed by 35 minutes, the biggest PR of the day. He was also the fastest Scott Smith of the day, as another same-named fellow, one year younger, was on the course as well. He was also the 21st fastest Smith of the day out of 173! I find that kind of factoid interesting. As a matter of fact, I researched common surnames of our finishers, and this is how we did with any runner who had at least four others with the same name on the course:

Fried: 2nd out of 4.

Smith: 21st out of 173.

Schwartz: 5th out of 27.

Friedman: 6th out of 22.

Mandel: 3rd out of 4.

Sanders: 3rd out of 11.

Weber: 17th out of 25.

Hook: 1st out of 4.

The Mary Keitany Women’s Race First Place Award: Connie Fried. In my humble opinion, Connie’s performance was the most impressive of the day. Her splits were ridiculous. She laid down 25-minute 5ks, one after another, like clockwork. Bam bam bam. From beginning to the end, despite a malfunctioning GPS watch. That’s how fantastic her muscle memory was due to her serious training. Strava shows consistent 70-80 mile weeks. No wonder!

The Jemima Sumgong Women’s Race Second Place Award: Rebecca Schwartz. She was the fastest female Schwartz of the day. After PRing at Steamtown three weeks ago, she set her goal at 3:45 (what is it with Bergenfieldians and their 3:45 goals? Inside joke.), and nailed it: 3:44:47.

The Sara Moreira Women’s Race Third Place Award: Judith Sambol. The JRunners old-school multiple-record holder aced her bat mitzvah NYCM with her 2nd fastest time ever, and probably would have put in her fastest if not for the wind. Like fine wine, they say.

The Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award:  Jonathan Hook. In the men’s division of the large JRunner pack, Jonathan put in the best time for a first-time marathoner ever! He was also, as indicated above, the fastest Hook of the day. He was also almost the fastest Spring Valleyian, but Yossi Cohn edged him by four minutes in an impressive performance. Both guys were also much faster than me on the lines we chose for the porta-potties. I don’t know how they pulled that off.

The Tracy Reid Rookie of the Year Award:  Shaina Nemtzov. Over in the women’s division, nobody ran faster than Shaina – and it’s probable that no one had more fun. I point you once again to Last year, Shaina’s first race ever was the JRunners Health Awareness 5k. I guess she was on the 5k-to-marathon program. I hear she intends to run the race again (Sunday, December 7th!), so she’s come full circle.

The The Whispers Rock Steady All Day Long Award: Stanley Mayerfeld. His splits are almost as impressive as Connie’s. 3:59:35 was his final time, and he ran like a Steady Eddie all the way through. How do I know? I kept finding him along the course (shh, don’t tell him!), and he had the same, relaxed stride the whole time. Also cool was that his wife, Malky, was in the field as well, and this is probably the first time a JRunners couple ran their first marathon together at NYCM.

The Ansel Adams Prolific Photography Award: Adam Orlow. Adam took more photos than MarathonFoto, the official photo/videographer of the NYC Marathon, whom I may have mentioned once or twice. As a matter of fact, if you visit the site (like you’re supposed to), you’ll see that MarathonFoto actually caught him in the act of taking photos! He then crashed Facebook’s servers when he uploaded them all. He also wins the Psalm 98 Joy to the World Award, because he won it last year for being so joyful no matter what, and deserves it again.

The Insane Clown Posse Welcome to the Show Award: David Roher. I dragged David, a much-accomplished Ironman who looks like Ironman (are you finally going to check out, into our group photo because I want him to be one of us. He’s just a good guy, and a great athlete. Also, he had the funniest sign of the day (“There must be a better way to get to Manhattan.”) which stood out as smart in a sea of scatological nonsense. Taking a picture with JRunners is good enough for club membership, no?

The U2 Sunday Bloody Sunday Award: Eli Friedman. Eli cramped up at mile 6, and dealt with the pain for six miles, but found an excellent cure: a hard fall to the curb due to unknown circumstances. Bystanders offered help immediately, but he said he had a race to run. He regrouped after a minute, smashed his PR by ten minutes, and only noticed how bloody his knees were when he crossed the finished line.

The Franciso Liriano Comeback Player of the Year Award: Michael Wilhelm. It’s been a rough road for Michael, but he made it all the way back from plantar fasciitis and a certain spill you may have heard about. Yet there he was, back in the saddle, with a strong time just a shade over 4 hours. It’s great to have him back.

The Black Eyed Peas Time of my Life Award: Martin Bodek. I gave myself this award last year 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 Evanescence Bring Me Back to Life Award: Joel Mandel. 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. Joel’s race included a blackout, IV drips, FDNY assistance, and vomiting. He still managed to finish under 4 hours. Wow.

Our wind-battered, but proud, finishers are as follows:

Name                               Time                Pace

DOV GERTZULIN               2:56:56            6:45

CONNIE FRIED                   3:31:58            8:06

ARI HERRMANN                3:37:06            8:17

SCOTT SMITH                      3:39:10            8:22

SHALOM COHN                  3:39:49            8:24

JONATHAN HOOK             3:43:15            8:31

REBECCA SCHWARTZ      3:44:47            8:35

JUDITH SAMBOL                3:45:52            8:37

HOWARD TEPLER              3:47:48            8:42

ELI FRIEDMAN                   3:48:43            8:44

JOEL MANDEL                    3:53:43            8:55

STANLEY MAYERFELD    3:59:35            9:09

MICHAEL WILHELM         4:05:34            9:22

ADAM ORLOW                    4:06:46            9:25

JACOB VORCHHEIMER    4:08:10            9:28

STEPHEN RUTENBERG     4:08:40            9:30

MARK SANDERS                4:15:07            9:44

SHAINA NEMTZOV            4:21:20            9:59

MARTIN BODEK                 4:22:26            10:01

DENA NIERENBERG         4:26:01            10:09

YISROEL PUPKO                4:26:28            10:10

JOSEPH PANCER                4:29:59            10:18

JONATHAN PITTINSKY    4:34:29            10:29

MICHAEL WEBER              4:38:56            10:39

MARTIN MALTZ                 4:42:39            10:47

LEAH BADIAN                    4:44:00            10:50

MENDEL LAKEIN               4:52:51            11:11

MALKY MAYERFELD       4:58:57            11:25

ARIEL KOHANE                 5:56:46            13:37

RUTH LIEBOWITZ              6:59:48            16:01

Congratulations everyone!

After the finish line, JRunners scored another coup 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. Wind shmind! Join us on 12/7 for our next 5k!: (you didn’t think I’d forget the URL after mentioning the race in the writeup above, did you?).

Martin Bodek is the JRunners Beat Reporter, who wrote a whole book about the 2012 Relay Race ( and is currently writing its sequel, along with other books, which is why it took him so long to complete this writeup.

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