Can you help us get to Eilat?

19 Mar

With less than 100K left to go, we have not yet reached our fundraising goal. Check out our video, share it with your friends, and donate now.

Halfway There!

16 Mar

Pardon the takeover; Rachel here. Marc is either running, sleeping, or eating cans of tuna fish but the blogging must continue. The crew finally joined up with Marc on Thursday night and Elyssa and I already tried to make Marc run with a bright yellow reflective vest on, he rejected the proposition. Don’t worry everyone, the potential Jewish mothers are here to look after him. After running through the hottest day in the memorable past Marc remains upbeat and determined. He’s also a little bit tired. Things we’ve learned thus far; Marc enjoys his water lukewarm, no one will bother you when your car is pulled over with the hazard lights blinking, and snacks for runners and drivers are essential.

Now back to the real serious business of running – We arrived in Netivot on Friday after a long, hot day of running and traveling to find a stocked fridge from the Netivot – Philadelphia partnership. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! We were also welcomed into the homes of two very generous and wonderful families in Netivot for Shabbat dinner. Saturday was another early morning wake up to get on the road and running around 5:30am. After six hours, a quick stop for pita, nearly 40k put behind us, and an afternoon nap we were ready to hit the pavement again – well, Marc was, I remained behind the wheel. Marc was a man on a mission today and ended 58k closer to Eilat. Running under 7 minute miles for the final miles of the day he plowed his way through the last bit of civilized Israel and we’re headed onwards to the heart of the desert.

Tonight we are hosting a pasta dinner in the Netivot – Philadelphia partnership apartment to continue fundraising for the run. We’re all looking forward to sitting down to eat a meal that doesn’t include mentos, tuna fish or pretzels. Spirits are high as we get ready to pick up the final member of our crew, Hannah, tomorrow in Beer Sheva. Then full steam ahead to Eilat!


What I’ve learned thus far…

14 Mar

I have a learned a lot about my body, running, and life in the last few days.  I am 1/3 of  the way to finishing my run, and about 1/2 way to my fundraising goal (*hint* please donate *hint*).  My crew joined me today, and I am ready to start full force tomorrow.

Here are some lessons that I have learned followed by a small piece on the Partnership2Gether cities that are making this possible.

1. Wear a hat.  Before starting this run, the number one goal was to stay as cool as possible.  I would buzz cut my hair and feel the heat evaporate away. After a 40 minute run, I would return home, shower, and drink a boat load of water.  These last few days, I have learned that the number one goal is water loss prevention.  Hence the white fiber-wicking hat.  Thanks Brooks Israel.

2. Whenever you don’t feel 100% eat something.  Instead of waiting to be hungry or eating at designated times, at the first sign of sluggishness, I pull out an orange, nuts, cereal, or leftover jam from breakfast.

3. Don’t underestimate the morning hours.  I get half of my running done before 9 AM.

Onto some partnerships – some of the many – that have helped me thus far.  These partnerships have introduced me to amazing people, just like they do to thousands of young Jews each year.

First of all, the Western Galilee/Hungary/Central US partnership helped the run get off to a great start.  Of course, the Netivot-Philadelphia partnership not only changed my life over the last 4 months, but they are also hooking us up with Shabbat Dinner!  Partnership2Gether Australia/Arava has given us a cabin and is setting us up with a kosher feast this weekend.  And last but not least, the Eilat partnership helped put me in contact with the kids in Eilat’s Youth Futures program.  And I almost forgot, the director of the Sha’re HaNegev partnership is hosting us for two nights in his wife’s yoga studio.  Thanks to them all!

A couple more things:

1.  For live updates and pictures, click on my twitter here: 

2. Check out:  About–>In the News for a couple new articles.

How I will get to Eilat: My thoughts on mentorship

11 Mar

I have been training for this run for the last two months.  I started from a base of above-average running fitness (think 18:15 for a 5K) and peppered my training with a 13-miler here and a 40-mile-day there.  But I don’t expect any of that running to get me to the finish line.  The joy of the last mile will get me to the finish line.

Camping next to the beach in Eilat will be a group of 70 children from Youth Futures.  My crew and I will have the privilege of running along the beach, into the waters of Eilat alongside them to mark the end of the journey.  After that, we’ll sing beach songs around a campfire until the sun sets.

Of course it won’t just be my crew and the kids in Eilat.  The mentors from all of the schools in the Eilat region will be camping out too.  I wish I could share with you the admiration these kids have for their mentors.  When a group of Philadelphians visited Netivot, a boy from Youth Futures, shy at first, opened up about his relationship with his mentor.  The 11 year old, after explaining all that his mentor helps him with, shyly concluded with “הוא כמו אבא שלי” (he’s like my father).

Another example of the admiration these kids have for their mentors is the “Youth Futures Room” at Netiv Yitzchak, a school at which I volunteered.  The room is small, unheated, dimly lit, and has a broken door.  However, it is by far the most popular room at the school.  With decorations on the wall, smiling faces, and a line of mentees pushing to get inside during every recess – you can tell something special happens there.

Max, Yisraela, Malka, and Reut (their mentor) in the Youth Futures Room

While at WashU, I had the opportunity to see similar admiration on the faces of kids from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri at the Take Steps for Kids Running Project events.  It was possible to see the bonds between Bigs and Littles grow stronger every month during our field day activities.

During my run, if ever I am feeling week, tired, or nauseous, I will think about the power of mentorship.  While I may be feeling week, I hope to enable at least one more child to know the life changing benefits of having an additional positive role model.  Knowing I am doing a small part in making that happen will give me the power to push on.

Bigs and Littles in a 3-legged race at a Take Steps for Kids Match Activity (March 2011)


Thanks to Max and Sara for helping with the photo shoot today.  Many papers have been requesting photos for their stories.  So here they are!

Thank you to Sara and Max for making this photo shoot possible

Thank you to Sara and Max for making this photo shoot possible

Can't win every race

Can’t win every race

Sporting my OTZMA shirt

Sporting my OTZMA shirt

Setting up the shot with girls from the Ethiopian Cultural Center Afterschool

Setting up the shot with girls from the Ethiopian Cultural Center Afterschool

I better get adjusted to running on the side of a busy road

I better get adjusted to running on the side of a busy road

Just a few more miles away from Beer Sheva

Just a few more miles away from Beer Sheva

Beautiful Netivot

Beautiful Netivot

First Training Run

21 Feb

The first forty mile run in Tel Aviv was both a surprise and a success!  I arrived in Tel Aviv looking forward to an interview for a non-profit think tank.  Sadly, the interviewer needed to cancel at the last minute, leaving me in Tel Aviv on a cool and sunny day.  I planned to test out my water backpack on an 8-mile run that afternoon, but decided that I should literally go big or go home.  I wasn’t ready to return to Netivot, so I walked 2 miles to the beach, filled up my water backpack, and took off for a 13 miler.

One of the great things about running on the boardwalk in Tel Aviv is that it is packed with runners.  Throughout each one of my three 13-mile runs, I would run with different people from all over the world.  Some ran with me for 10 miles, others just 1 mile, but I always appreciated the company.  Between my three sets of 13 miles, I grabbed a small, but filling meal.  First, I had a tuna sandwich and a (free) shot of espresso.  During my next break, I ate a chicken sandwich with a blended ice coffee.  Bad idea!  I should have known that 58 degrees is only perfect running weather before ingesting freezing drinks.

Needless to say, the last set of 13 miles was the hardest.  I spent the first 7 miles shivering before taking a break due to a tight calf.  Then I jogged 4 more, and walked the rest.  I left for Netivot exhausted, but confident.  Only the next day, when I woke up and was able to walk, did I know that running across Israel was a physical possibility for me.  We’ll see what happens starting on March 12!


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Are you offering it to me for $100 now? If so, I might be interested. 01.10.2018