Mom’s Day in motion

Mom’s Day in motion

A father and two happy daughters waiting for their mother to cross the finish line at the Rubin Run in Tenafly.

Natalya Michaels is forgoing breakfast in bed in Mother’s Day.

Instead, she will go for a run with her husband and sons – along with about 1,300 others from as far away as Canada – in the annual Rubin Run, now in its 34th year at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly.

“It’s a nice family day,” Ms. Michaels said. “I like running and it’s what I’m choosing to do on Mother’s Day.

“I’m doing the 10k; my husband, Adam, is doing the half marathon; and our second-grader, Gregory, is doing the 5K, as he did last year. Gregory is in the JCC’s youth running clinic on Monday afternoons.”

Their younger son, Alex, a pre-kindergartner at the JCC, was to participate in the “Rubin Romp” on the Friday before the big race.

Physical fitness is a priority for the Michaels family, and indeed for the borough in which they live.

“The Rubin Run is a healthy family event, whether you’re 4 years old or 84 years old, and it promotes a healthy, active lifestyle,” said Tenafly’s Mayor Peter Rustin, who will start off the race, as he’s done for the past few years. Mr. Rustin said that the Rubin Run meshes well with the fact that since 2012, the borough has participated in the Mayors Wellness Campaign, an initiative of the NJ Healthcare Quality Institute. “We encourage any activity that keeps people moving,” he said.

Even beyond the importance that the Rubin Run/Walk through Tenafly, Englewood and Englewood Cliffs has to its participants, there is an added value that the greater community gains from it. Proceeds from this major fundraiser support the JCC’s more than 70 monthly life-skills, therapeutic, and vocational programs for people with special needs.

“Spending a few hours together as a family on Mother’s Day is a great way for parents to serve as role models for their kids and teach them about the importance of health and wellness,” the JCC’s chief executive officer, Avi A. Lewinson, said. “But it also provides our entire community with a chance to help the JCC fulfill one of its core missions – to provide social service and healthy lifestyle programs for children, teens and adults with special needs.”

“It’s a great thing the JCC is doing, and we’ve participated by sponsoring our kids through the clinic and the class,” Ms. Michaels said. She takes part in the center’s early-morning adult running clinic, and Mr. Michaels is a member of the JCC’s triathlon club.

When she asked her son Gregory what the Rubin Run makes him think of, he replied, “Never quit; never stop trying,” his mother reported.

“He’s learning perseverance,” she said proudly. “He said he looks forward to finishing.”

Medals await runners under 10 who finish the race; trophies will be awarded to the top three winners in each age category. And all mothers are to receive roses when they cross the finish line.

The morning also features a free brunch, a children’s carnival from 9 to 11, free babysitting from 7 to noon, and music. Runners may take advantage of pre-race stretches and warm-ups led by professional fitness staff from the JCC.

“We provide, with our varying races, a goal people can reach for each year in their physical fitness,” said Kaplen JCC Director of Health and Recreation Roberto Santiago, who is doubling as Rubin Run race director for the fifth year. “They can do the 5K or push to the 10k or half marathon. But the biggest thing is bringing everyone together for a great start to Mother’s Day.”

The JCC offers a 12-week prep course for the Rubin Run, dubbed “Couch to 5K,” which teaches preparatory steps for that race option. “We also have running clubs for people who want to push themselves further in distance or time,” said Mr. Santiago. “This is only the third year the Rubin Run is offering a half marathon, and you see the difference in people who have been training for that race. It’s not a matter of just signing up and running.”

Co-chaired this year by Joseph Lerner and Suzette Josif, the annual event is named in memory of Leonard Rubin, a past president and founder of the JCC on the Palisades who established this community-wide athletic event to encourage a healthful lifestyle. It has grown larger over the years and always attracts cheering spectators along the route.

“When I first started, there were about 600 participants, and we had 1,250 last year,” said Mr. Santiago, who will be setting up with the JCC crew beginning at 5 in the morning. “We get great support from the Tenafly Police Department,” he added.

The Jewish Standard is one of 11 lead sponsors of the event.

Though online registration closed earlier this week, last-minute participants may register at the JCC, at 411 E. Clinton Ave. in Tenafly, on the morning of the race. Packet pickup and registration for the half marathon is from 6:45 to 7:15; for the 10K from 7:30 to 8:15; and for the 5K from 8:30 to 9:45. There are more details at

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