The first Jewish runners club, JRunners, was recently founded in Brooklyn by three 30-ish Brooklynites: Steven Friedman (no relation to this writer), Matt Katz, and Saul Rosenblum, who love to run. What they love even more is running for good causes, so when a neighbor contracted ALS, a severe degenerative disease also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, they put together a non-profit organization to bring Jewish runners together to raise money for charity. Their tag line is “We Run for Those Who Can’t!” and their first race is for the benefit of that ALS family. Each runner will raise a minimum of $1,000 and will be given tools to help him accomplish that goal.
Spokesman Friedman put it this way, “JRunners is the first Jewish running and fund-raising organization that we know of. Our runners have their laces tied tight and are ready to run. Anyone of any creed, color, or religion is invited to join us, but … this particular race is men only.”
JRunners is seeking 100 runners and other volunteers (women welcome) to register for the 200K relay. It will take 10 teams of 10 runners through some of the most scenic (and Jewish) areas of the United States and take approximately 22 hours to complete. It’s split into 30 legs; each runner completes three legs, running a total of 12 miles. There is a major handoff in Bergen County at CNBC on 9W in Englewood Cliffs and another in Wesley Hills in Rockland County.
Volunteers are needed in various capacities, including being posted at transition areas to assure proper runner handoff and to patrol the course.
Teams will be provided with RV vehicles equipped with restrooms, beds, and showers between the various exchange points. The course starts at a minus-3-foot elevation and ends at a plus-1,588-foot elevation with a total ascent of 4,347 feet and a total descent of 3,291 feet.
At the finish line, runners and volunteers will be greeted with a kosher barbecue and a concert. The winning team will receive a trophy and a night out in New York City. Special awards will also recognize the top three fund raisers, and every runner who makes it to the finish line will receive a finisher’s medal.
For information or to register, go to www.jrunners.org. Those who register before May 1 get a $50 discount, a free JRunners T-Shirt, and other perks.
The course, 125 miles long, goes from Brooklyn to the Borscht Belt via the Brooklyn Bridge, across Manhattan (passing the Tweed Courthouse and City Hall), down to the West Side and up river. Runners will trace the Hudson to the George Washington Bridge, and cross into Bergen County while getting an eyeful of those majestic cliffs, the Palisades. They will clip along Route 9W North through the Tenafly Nature Reserve, Closter, Alpine, and then back into New York State. The race continues west along Route 59 through Spring Valley, Monsey, Wesley Hills, and into Harriman State Park.
Passing Lake Welch, the runners will cross over Route 17, headed for Tuxedo and Warwick. From there the course winds along Route 1 to Pine Island and up the Pine Island Turnpike to Route 209 and Cold Spring Road, which will bring the runners to Monticello, Kiamesha Lake, and finally, Route 42 into Fallsburg.