Jewish charities are united in praise for participants who braved the hottest conditions in the event’s history to complete the iconic 26.2 mile Virgin Money London marathon course last Sunday.
Over 40,000 racers ran, jogged and walked the capital’s streets cheered on by family, friends and staff members.
Ten runners pledged an astonishing £60,000 so far in aid of Chai Cancer Care which provides comprehensive services to members of the Jewish community affected by a cancer diagnosis.
Ben Radstone, who has raised an inspiring £10,900, took part in memory of his father, Mark and father in-law, Jack Reef.
Ben said: “I wanted to support their ‘Home support’ programme as it makes the lives of those families and patients affected by cancer that little bit easier.”
Richard Silver has raised over £9,770 whilst Ricki Stone has been pledged over £7,600.
“Chai does so much for the community and I wanted to take on a challenge to support them and their amazing work,” she said.
“Running has taught me I am capable of much more than I ever imagined.
Michael Jaeger, who ran in memory of his father who lived in Israel, and James Steele have both raised over £6,500.
Neil Sapler has raised over £3,200 in memory of his stepfather Harold Kirk.
Darrel Yawitch completed the challenge in his fastest ever time of 3 hours 16 minutes raising over £3,400.
Elliott Stern and his wife, Tash, have so far raised £12,500 to be split between Chai, Grief Encounter and Luton and Dunstable Hospital.
“We are in awe and salute all our runners for their commitment and dedication over many months,” commented Chai chairman Louise Hager.
“Through their efforts Chai can continue to be there for all those who turn to us.”
Camp Simcha’s nine participants collectively raised over £42,000 after completing the iconic route, including two family members of children the charity has supported and a former volunteer.
Abraham Amselem, Isaac Bentata, Marc Cohen, Yiddy Gertner, Katherine Hinchcliffe, Evan Morris, Jonny Phillips, Mel Ross and Michael Seitler completed the course in times ranging from 3 hours 24 minutes to 6 hours 40 minutes.
Veteran racer Jonny Phillips ran his seventh marathon for the charity in his quickest ever time followed closely by Evan Morris seven minutes later.
Evan, was running as part of a year of challenges to mark the milestone in September of his son Jared’s fifth year in remission following a diagnosis of Burkett’s Lymphoma.
“I want to raise awareness for the great work Camp Simcha does for the help and support they provide to sick children and their families,” he said.
“I ran to say thanks for everything they did for Jared, for making him smile when he was at his worst and for providing a respite from the chemo, the drugs, the tests and the months in hospital.
“This is my second London marathon, it was a great day and although the heat was very debilitating and made it very tough, the atmosphere was magical.”
Marc Cohen, whose four-year-old nephew Jake has been supported by the charity since he started receiving treatment for neuroblastoma last July, ran the Manchester marathon earlier in the month.
“Camp Simcha they have been incredible to my family,” he said.
“Up until about mile 14 it was good fun and an amazing atmosphere but the last 12 were a bit of a battle but had loads of family at the end so that got me through.”
Jewish Care runners raised over £26,500 with participants racing on behalf of grandparents cared for by the organisation.
James Fox, Sarah Myers, Mich Preston, Josh Domb, Lauren Waterman and Chris Ezekiel completed the distance.
James’ grandma, Renee Hassell, was a resident at Clore Manor in Hendon.
“The heat was unbearable and I’m so relieved I finished,” he said. “I’m really proud my fundraising went so well and I’d like to thank everyone for supporting me.
“I’ve seen first-hand the fantastic work Jewish Care does to support so many people and families in our community.”
Sarah’s mum, Wendy Stollerman works in Jewish Care’s Family Carers service, which is part of the Community Support and Social Work team.
Sarah’s grandma attends Jewish Care’s Connect @ Centre in Southgate and her grandpa went to Jewish Care’s Sam Beckman Centre for people living with dementia before he passed away.
“Everyone was just brilliant and the support all along the way was amazing, it was so good to see my family and have a nice warm welcome at the end,” she said.
Mich added, “I loved it, the crowds cheering along the way from the charity was incredible.”
“We both have three kids and work so squeezing in training has been the biggest struggle. Seeing our families with their home-made banners spurred us on and we’re so grateful for all the support.”
Josh’s grandma, Diane, who has dementia, moved to Otto Schiff home in Golders Green two years ago. She has inspired him to run three marathons in the past two years.
“Those were undoubtedly the hardest conditions I have ever run in,” he said. “The first 18 miles were okay but after that the heat truly took its toll. The atmosphere was incredible though.
“Jewish Care have been absolutely brilliant. I have always taken huge comfort from the standard of care provided to my grandma on so many levels. It makes the world of difference.”
Lauren ran in memory of her grandmother Barbara Waterman, a Jewish Care volunteer for over 47 years at Stepney Jewish Community Centre.
Her efforts will primarily be go towards ‘Barbara’s Kitchen’ in her memory at the centre.
“Every mile I was getting closer to my target and I’m really pleased I exceeded my fundraising target.”
Second time runner Chris ran in memory of his grandparents, Lily and Raymond Ezekiel, who were cared for at John Reuben’s House in Ilford.
“I’m sure like all the runners, it was the great causes that we run for that got us through the hottest marathon ever,” he said.
“Running the marathon to help others in our community who rely on Jewish Care’s services is a way to show my appreciation.”
Daniel Carmel-Brown, Jewish Care’s Chief Executive Designate said, “Each runner has their own inspiring story about what motivated them to take on this huge challenge.”
Six Kisharon runners have raised £32,000 and counting in aid of work supporting children and adults with special needs.
Rabbi Sam Fromson and his father, Bernard, both posted a finish time of 5 hours 16 minutes.
The Fromson duo have taken part in various Kisharon challenges previously.
Kosher Kingdom manager Shlomi Rokach posted a finish time of just under four hours.
Ron Korczak, hasn’t previously participated in challenges for Kisharon but has already raised in excess of £10,000, twice his initial target.
Shimon Lev, who ran the London Marathon for a fifth time in aid of Kisharon, posted his fastest ever finish time of 3 hours 43 minutes.
Bronte Snow exceeded her £3,000 target.
Sam Indyk, having suffered a personal illness, wanted to give something back to Nightingale Hammerson who aided his recovery. And John Doyle, who has run between 30-40 marathons, but none since 2010, ran in aid of Nightingale for the first time.
Greek-born Denae Vazoura, a nurse on Nightingale House’s Ronson Unit, also raised funds for the charity.
An 11-strong team donned World Jewish Relief vests and have raised over £30,000 for the charity.
First timer racer Josh Edelman said: “It’s been great to have so much support from the Jewish community and everyone who came out to cheer. It’s good to do something difficult for a great cause.”
Michele Robinson commented: “It was really tough in hot conditions but worth it and really amazing.” Danielle Ellis added: “I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of money I’ve raised.”
Marcus Mendleson said: “I am very proud to have raised a significant amount of money for an amazing charity.”
Paul Anticoni, WJR chief executive, said “The dedication people show to this event is quite astounding. Through our charity’s outreach work so many people will benefit from what is effectively an incredible and often life changing experience for our runners.”
Emunah first-time runners and marathon veterans came through to raise vital funds.
First-time entrants Sarah Tarzi and Dan Brazil were excited and relieved to finish.
Together with the efforts of experienced racers Claire Gothelf and Flora Frank, Emunah homes and services caring for at-risk children in Israel will benefit from almost £10,000.
“The marathon was awesome, an experience I’ll never forget,” said Dan. “The atmosphere was brilliant with the music and all the people shouting out your name.
“Having trained in a very cold winter I wasn’t used to running in the heat and the sun was relentless. My legs went at 20 miles, I started to fight my own internal battle but kept going.”
Sarah refused to pull out despite feeling ill.
“I thought, I can’t let Emunah down and it was the most amazing experience,” she said.
“I think it must have been stress and worrying about the hot weather. People poured cups of water over me at every opportunity and it was really fun, there is nothing like it.
“Because Emunah gave me a shirt with my name on it people were calling out to me, it was very motivating.”
Great grandmother and Jewish educator Flora entered the race in memory of her husband Herbert, who passed away six months ago.
This was her 37th marathon and hardest to date.
“It took longer than usual because the heat got to me, so I went very slowly,” she said.
“People were so kind and came out of their homes with water on the route to keep me going.”
Claire travelled to the capital from Leeds for her third London Marathon for Emunah and finished thanks to help from another runner and medics.
“I felt dizzy and paramedics came over to check me out, they were amazing,” she said.
Claire’s fundraising inspiration comes from her 81-year-old mother, Margaret, a long-term Emunah supporter and her love of Israel.
“I am appealing to the generosity of the Leeds Jewish community to help me,” she said.
British Emunah director Deborah Nathan commented: “They are all heroes. A big thank you to everyone who has kindly agreed to sponsor them in support our work with children in Israel.”
Laura Marks raised £9,000 for infertility charity Chana.
“Laura’s twins are now nine years old, treatment worked for her first time, but not everyone is so fortunate,” said a Chana spokesman.
“Laura’s dream is that a new baby can be born as a result of her achievement.”
Lloyd Rakusen, Philip Rakusen, Michelle Kristall-Monnickendam, Richard Sherman, Suzanne Shenderey and Katy Higgins raised £10,000 for Leeds Jewish Welfare Board who will use the funds for various services in the city.
“We had six amazing runners who trained in the worst wintry conditions and ended up running on the hottest day this year who showed true grit and courage,” said Meirav Sasson, Income Generation Manager.
“Huge congratulations to them all; everyone at LJWB is incredibly proud of them.”