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The 2017 JRunners Relay Race Awards

Posted on Aug 15, 2017 by in Musings | 0 comments

The 2017 JRunners Relay Race Awards


Martin Bodek

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to this year’s installment of the JRunners Relay Race awards. The race was a giant rain-splattered sloppy slopfest at first, but later became a cool, pleasant mostly-unimpeded great run and adventure. We had fun out there. Shall we?:

The Luke Skywalker The Force is Strong with this One Award AKA The Zeh Hagadol Gadol Yehiyeh Award AKA The Rookie of the Year Award – Yaacov Silber, Team Worst Game of Tag. Yaacov, who is taking on his first Ironman in two weeks showed what he was made of by not just taking gold on both legs he ran, but destroying the field on both, besting 2nd place in each instance by over four minutes apiece! He absolutely clobbered the Leg 10 record. He’s strong to the finichk!

The Cake Going the Distance Award – Pinchas Farkas, Team The Champs, Team Bravo. Pinchas took on a workload of three whole legs, consecutively. That’s three in a row for those of you who are counting. His total was 20.6 miles, which is 35.7% of the course, all by himself!

The Gunnery Sergeant Hartman Troop Rallier Award – Joel Mandel, Team The Champs, Team Alpha. Chances are if you were within five miles of the relay course on the night of the relay, you probably heard our man’s voice at some point. He’s an X-Man. His mutation is that he was blessed with a megaphone where usually vocal cords are placed, as well as being blessed with faster twitch muscle fibers. More on him later.

The Gold Five Stay on Target Award – Chaim Tepler, Team Legs Miserables. The race is not given to the swift nor the strong but he who endures until the end, says Ecclesiastes. All things being equal, this is very true. The team who is least lost has the best chance at ranking high. Chaim took legs 1 and 2, bronzed on 1, and golded on 2. He had serious competitors, but this is what he did: a week before the race, he prepped by running legs 1 and 2! Talk about Boy Scouting properly! There are about 12 ways to go wrong on Leg 2 – you can end up on the Manhattan Bridge, or even Queens if you’re creative enough – but Chaim stayed true, and got to the top of the podium for it.

The Lady Bing Sportsmanship Trophy – Team Misery Loves Company. Relay runners are always kind to each other, offering food during runs, and the ever-present camaraderie, but Misery Loves Company went the extra mile this time: at a point in the course where it was easiest to make a wrong turn (that convoluted 155th st. stairs/ramp mess), they stationed themselves and called out like a beacon to runners from other teams to keep them on the path. Classy!

The Young Padawan Award – Yitzy Friedlander, Team The Champs, Team Bravo. Yitzy was exactly 16 years and 0 days old at the start of the race. That’s right, he was our birthday boy! We celebrated by singing him happy birthday before the race, and he celebrated by earning himself a silver medal on Leg 3. Nice prezzie!

The Faster Than a Speeding Bullet Award – Ariel Lev, Team The Champs, Team Alpha. Ariel smoked both of his legs, taking gold on both Leg 6 and Leg 8. On that Leg 6, out of the restart from the CNBC exchange, he distanced himself from all comers with a brand new record for the leg! He averaged 6:28 for the 6.4-mile run. Wowsers.

The More Powerful Than a Locomotive Award – Joe Bootin, Team Misery Loves Company. The annual push-up contest took place at CNBC while Joe – the perpetual winner – was out doing Leg 5. Martin Bodek thought he won the contest with 51, but Joe rolled into the exchange, heard what the bar was that he had to clear, dropped to the floor, and cranked out 55 bad boys. Ha-ooh!

The Able to Leap Tall Buildings in a Single Bound Award – Paul Kentor, Team Worst Game of Tag.  Paul, last year’s MVP, took on 3 consecutive legs, putting in total mileage just a shade under Farkas’ total, and took hardware on all three hilly legs, namely 6, 7, and 8. His gold was leg 7, the loooooooooooong one. He looked good doing it too, we hear.

The It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman! Award AKA The Emil Zatopek MVP Award ( – Joel Mandel, Team The Champs, Team Alpha. Joel not only started off the day with a bang by breaking the record on Leg 1, and not only took gold again on Leg 9, but in between kept his team together and coached them to victory. On top of all that, he deserves props for putting together the winning relay team for the 5th year in a row (alongside Yossi Cohn, last year’s winner of this award). We hear he has Grete Waitz’s record in his sights.

The Bear Grylls Man vs. Wild Award – Martin Bodek, Team Legs Miserables. Our beloved director tallied two rats, two skunks, one deer, and one raccoon for his trip. He’s proud of the hardware he earned (1 silver, 1 bronze), but really proud of the fact that he did so despite having to pause on several occasions to make sure he wouldn’t need a tomato-juice bath or rabies vaccine in middle of the race.

The Kevin Hazzard A Thousand Naked Strangers Award – Sam Kopolovitz and Chaim Moskowitz, EMTs. Both EMTs were rookies this year, but delivered exactly what was requested of them. Runners rest easy from road hazards, because the lead vehicle blinks and brights living things out of the way, and drags dead things away (mostly the plant variety), while the caboose protects the last runners and lights up the road for them. They also provide encouragement, refreshment, and add to the camaraderie of the affair. Thanks, guys! Now what’s with the name of this award? It’s a book you have to read.

The We’ve Got The Runs Award for the Best Team Name – The team names were, in order of their arrival at the finish line: The Champs, Team Alpha (6:57:00); Worst Game of Tag (7:09:00); The Champs, Team Bravo (8:32:00); Legs Miserables (9:08:00), and Misery Loves Company (9:26:00) We put it to a vote on the race’s Facebook page (we tried putting the vote to the JRunners Yahoo! Page, but millennials don’t know what that is), and the votes came in for Legs Miserables, in a landslide.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Martin’s next award goes to the next person who buys his JRunners book ( covering the 2012 edition of the relay (yes, he intends to write a sequel one day). Have a look at his other books: Available on Kindle too:

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