London Marathon raises thousands for Jewish charities

London Marathon raises thousands for Jewish charities

The community's runners and athletes were out in force on Sunday to the benefit of numerous organisations.

Andrew Sherwood is the Jewish News Sport and Community Editor

Emunah's David Bondt and Roey Freilich,
Emunah's David Bondt and Roey Freilich,

British Emunah director Deborah Nathan praised the “unbelievable efforts” of the charity’s six runners who completed the London Marathon raising £12,000 towards a new dormitory at the charity’s children’s centre in Afula, northern Israel.

Leeds-based retailer Jonny Gould was the first team Emunah member to pass the finish line followed by accountant Marc Jackson. The other members were Leeds council worker Claire Gothelf; solicitor David Bondt, accountant Roey Freilich and marathon veteran Flora Frank

In Israel, Emunah is one of the largest care providers and supports over 12,000 children daily through its network of centres and services.

“It was an amazing day and I was very happy with my time [3:49:50],” said Jonny Gould, 42, the boss of Monster Pet Supplies.  Mr Gould ran the 2015 race for Leeds Welfare Board and this was his first London Marathon for Emunah. “Having my family there gave me a real boost – experience told me to slow down and enjoy, which is what I did. Doing the marathon is special – it makes you feel that England’s great. Thank you Emunah for giving me the opportunity to support a great cause [helping vulnerable children in Israel].”

Accountant Marc Jackson, 48, finished in 3:59:52, saying: “It’s a fantastic experience with people playing music and the crowds cheering you on. The last six miles were a bit challenging and you realise it is as much about mental energy as physical effort.  I was glad and relieved to finish.” The Edgware resident ran for Emunah in 2015 and also did the Paris Marathon 2016. He was spurred on by his wife Wendy Jackson, who runs the Emunah on eBay online charity shop.  

Leeds City Council worker Claire Gothelf “got to six miles and I wanted to pack it in – it was so hard. I started off too quickly but I did it [in 5:19:13] and there was a huge sense of satisfaction. I was running in memory of my dad, Harvey Gothelf, who passed away earlier this year and had a picture of him on my back.” This year her proud mum Margaret Gothelf, a long-term supporter of Emunah, came to London to cheer her daughter on.  Claire also ran for Emunah in 2015.  She runs every day – “I like the challenge… They all know me around Leeds, the lady with the sun glasses and the pink lipstick.”

Two first-time runners took longer than expected due to injury and the number of runners. Prestwich-based solicitor David Bondt, 33, set off with accountant Roey Freilich, 28, (ex-Hendon) from Broughton Park, finishing in in 5:09:09 and 5:31:28 respectively. “The training app on my phone showed I had actually done 28 miles – the first five miles were ok and then it was tough as you had to weave in and out – and at times you had to walk,” said David Bondt (originally from Barnet). “Things sped up again and I was sprinting but I had to stop and talk to Roey as he was injured.  We ran part of the way arm in arm and then he [bravely] carried on. The crowd was amazing and the sun was shining – it was a good day and I would highly recommend it. 

Emunah's David Bondt and Roey Freilich,
Emunah’s David Bondt and Roey Freilich,

“I’m carrying on a family tradition of supporting Emunah – I was with my [late] grandma Irene when they opened the Beit Bondt building at the Emunah Family Counselling and Day Care Centre in Netivot.”  Great grandmother and Jewish educator, Flora Frank, competes under the Norwood banner while also raising funds for Emunah. She finished in 6:41:07. 

British Emunah director Deborah Nathan said: “I am truly grateful to our runners for completing the marathon course and for their unbelievable efforts in raising funds. Their achievements will be doubly rewarded with the match funding that Emunah in Israel has secured for the refurbished dormitory building in Afula. We’d love to hear from anyone wanting to run the London Marathon 2018 for Emunah.”

Six Camp Simcha marathon runners raised over £15,000 for the charity which supports families coping with serious childhood illness.

Arie Gurvits, Pinchos Herskovic, Jonny Phillips, Shloimy Roth, Yossi Schloss and Darrel Yawitch finished the 26.2 miles in times ranging from 3 hours 7 minutes to 6 hours 40 minutes.

Running his sixth marathon and fifth London marathon for the Camp Simcha, Jonny Phillips, 43, from Edgware, finished in 4 hours and 14 minutes. Since 2010 he has raised over £23,000 for the charity. He said: ‘To know that I am doing something I really enjoy and supporting an amazing charity elevates the whole marathon experience. Let’s hope I am not even half way there with the number of marathons I run for Camp Simcha.

Camp Simcha's Shloimy Roth and Jonny Phillips
Camp Simcha’s Shloimy Roth and Jonny Phillips

Darrel Yawitch, 43, also from Edgware, finished first out of the Camp Simcha group, completing the course in just over three hours. It was his second marathon – he ran his first one 14 years ago in 4 hours 17 minutes. He said: ‘I was really pleased with my time, but those last 7km were so tough. I was in a pretty dark place at that point. The atmosphere and the cheers really kept me going and the sight of the Camp Simcha staff waiting with a sandwich at the end was wonderful. I was starving!’

Chief executive of Camp Simcha Neville Goldschneider said: ‘Running the marathon is no small commitment and we are immensely grateful that our runners chose to do it to generate funds for us. They have raised a fantastic amount to help us to continue making that critical difference to families who need us, in the form of practical, emotional and therapeutic help to parents and siblings of seriously ill children, as well as powerful positive experiences to improve the quality of life for the ill child.”

Tammy Poggo completed the Marathon on behalf of WIZO UK. Finishing in a time of 5:05, she has so far raised more than £9,000. She said: It was amazing! The support has been incredible and I am very proud to have run this marathon for my grandmother and for WIZO. If you are interested in knowing more about about my reasons for running and contributing to my fundraising page, please go to:″

Tammy Poggo
Tammy Poggo

Chai Cancer Care saw their 11 runners raise a staggering £65,000.

Charlotte Hamilton and Ben Menahem raised nearly £3,000 – which will be split between Chai and the Jewish Women’s Aid – after months of training together in the “run up” to their wedding, which is taking place this summer in Israel.

Charlotte finished in 4:09, with Ben in a time of 6:12. Charlotte said: “This was my third London Marathon, it is a huge personal challenge to take on and I have so much respect for every runner. I think every runner goes through the good miles, the challenging miles and even the miles where you aren’t sure you can do it. It is truly humbling to be one of 37,000 people to cross that finish line for a cause you believe in which ultimately keeps you going. This year I trained and fundraised with my fiancé, Ben Menahem, which made it more enjoyable and certainly one for the memory books. It was an absolute pleasure to run for Chai, having had a close family friend use their services over the past couple of years it meant a lot to be able to give back and make sure that others that may need Chai in the future will have it there.”

Charlotte Hamilton & Ben Menahem ran for both Chai Cancer Care and Jewish Women's Aid
Charlotte Hamilton & Ben Menahem ran for both Chai Cancer Care and Jewish Women’s Aid

Ricky Green, completed the marathon in five hours and has so far raised more than £28,160.

Coby Bull also took part in the marathon, finishing in 05:04.and has so far raised £7,569. He said: “I am raising money for Chai in memory of Jennifer Aron z’l who suffered with cancer and passed away in July 2016. A beautiful lady inside and out, who fought bravely until the end. Never complaining and always worrying about everybody else, putting friends and family first. Admired by all for her elegant nature, style and gentle way, she will be missed. This horrible disease eats away at the physical body and try’s to take over the spirit but with the help of Chai the battle continues. Chai are always at the end of the phone, they help through the emotional roller coaster that is cancer! We will always remember “Jenn” with a smile on our face.”

Husband and wife team Jonathan and Lauren Barr took part in the marathon, a day after their 27th wedding anniversary. Raising money for both Chai Cancer Care and the North London Hospice, Jonathan, who claimed a personal best time of 4.38.38,was taking part in his sixth London Marathon, his first since being diagnosed for Testicular Cancer, two weeks after he had taken part in the 2014 edition, and then, subsequently under going aggressive Chemotherapy in 2015 for a re-occurrence of his Testicular Cancer. He said: “Chai Cancer Care have given me support through out my Cancer journey and still do. My late mum, Valerie, who died in 2015 from a re-occurrence of her breast cancer, in the midst of me having Chemotherapy treatment, was a volunteer there for 12 years. North London Hospice took care of mum in the latter stages of her illness and where she was allowed to pass away peacefully. The nursing staff and volunteers were truly remarkable and fantastically supportive during this intense and traumatic time. So it was natural for us to continue to support both these charities in whatever we can.”

Lauren also acheived a PB, crossing the line in 4.08.44.The pair have raised £9,055 this year, which will be split between both charities and to date have raised in excess of £56,000 for charity from six London and two New York Marathons, of which over £21,000 was for Chai Cancer Care and over £23,000 for North London Hospice.

Jonathan and Lauren Barr
Jonathan and Lauren Barr

Rachel Caplin, who also ran for Chai, has raised more than £1,500 so far. Following the marathon, she said: “I wanted to run for Chai in memory of my dear mum, who sadly lost her battle with this awful disease. Running the London Marathon was an amazing experience! The atmosphere and crowds were fantastic, and together with family and friends who came to watch, really helped keep me going especially for the last few miles. A great and memorable day all round!”

Michaela Krantz raised more than £2,040. She said: “I found the marathon an incredibly uplifting and a great personal experience. I decided to run for Chai as recently a few close family friends have greatly benefited from the incredible work that Chai does and feel it’s important to spread awareness and funds so the service can continue to grow and provide much need support to those who are unfortunately affected by cancer.”

Jo Benjamin also took part in the marathon, completing the marathon in 4.47 minutes and has raised more £4,386. Jo said: “I found the Marathon an amazing experience and one I’ve always wanted to be part of. I ran for Chai because I think they’re an amazing charity who help so many people. I feel very lucky that I personally haven’t had to go through cancer with anyone close to me, yet, but unfortunately the statistics are that most of us will one day and I have had 2 close friends lose their mums to the disease recently.”

Josh Dvir, who completed the marathon in 4 hours 25 minutes, has so far raised £3,127. He said: “Chai is a charity very close to me and it does an amazing job helping cancer patients and their loved ones. The first 25km (15 miles) were easy, but afterwards it became tougher every mile that passed, but thinking about the reasons why I chose to run in the marathon and enjoying the beautiful sites that London has to offer made it easier to finish.”

Mikey Salem completed the challenge in 5.04, and has so far raised £5,107 for Chai. Following the marathon, he said: “The most amazing part of the marathon were the crowds. From the second you cross the start line until the finish line the crowd is there cheering you on. I chose to run for Chai to help improve the lives of people who suffer from cancer and their families. Unfortunately, we are unable to cure cancer today, so we need to ensure cancer sufferers have the best care in place to help them through this difficult period. Chai helps thousands of people nationwide and I felt the need to help in any way I could.”

Melanie Ross has raised more than £4,251 for Chai so far. Following the challenge, she said: “The London Marathon is THE charity marathon and it was so worthwhile to run for your amazing organisation. Thank you Chai!”

Louise Hager, Chai’s Chairman, said: “We are in awe and salute all our runners for their commitment and dedication over many months and through all their efforts, Chai can continue to be there for all those who turn to us. The Community continue to ‘run by our side’!”

Rachel Caplin finished in a time of 5:20 and has so far raised more than £1,500. She said: “I wanted to run for Chai Cancer Care in memory of my dear mum, who sadly lost her battle with this awful disease. Running the London Marathon was an amazing experience! The atmosphere and crowds were fantastic, and together with family and friends who came to watch, really helped keep me going especially for the last few miles. A great and memorable day all round!”

Michaela Krantz has so far raised over £2,040, she said: “I decided to run for Chai as recently a few close family friends have greatly benefited from the incredible work that Chai does and feel it’s important to spread awareness and funds so the service can continue to grow and provide much need support to those who are unfortunately affected by cancer. I found the marathon an incredibly uplifting and a great personal experience.”

Nightingale Hammerson saw three runners raise just over £6,000 for them – Andrew Leigh (4.44.01), Director of Operations and Cathy Buckingham (4.33.51), Executive Assistant to the CEO. Their third participant was Anmol Chanda (4.23.44), a friend of a relative of Nightingale House Resident. A young Law graduate, he had a long standing ambition to run a London Marathon.

Nightingale Hammerson's Andrew Leigh and Cathy Buckingham
Nightingale Hammerson’s Andrew Leigh and Cathy Buckingham

Rabbi Odom Brandman, ran the marathon to bring in funds to support the Chabad Buckhurst Hill shul on Epping Road. He has so far raised more than £8,000, with people still able to support him by visiting his sponsorship page at:

Rabbi Brandman

Langdon had four people take part in the 26.2 mile run with the quartet – Carinne Jay, Liam Stein, Jonathan Field and Laurence Broch – raising £10,794.75.

Carinne Jay was the first runner over the line in a time of 3:31:02. She said: “This is my 10th marathon, and I am so proud to represent Langdon, my cousin is a Langdon member and he is the happiest he has ever been which shines through the whole family!”

Next to finish was Liam Stein in a time of 5:10:46. He said: “It was really tough but also really rewarding, coming across the finish line to meet Langdon members at the end cheering me on truly made it all worth while, what an amazing day!”

Laurence Broch who’s son William is a Langdon member finished the marathon in 6:12:21. Laurence ran the marathon 30 years ago and decided to take on the challenge again in aid of Langdon. He said: “Running the marathon again after all this time was so rewarding, the crowd cheering me on the whole way round and being able to raise money for Langdon which has been a lifeline for my family was truly fantastic!”

Jonathan Field who’s niece Natasha is a Langdon member in Manchester completed the marathon in 6:21:20. Inspired by his daughter and nephew who ran the marathon for Langdon last year, he said: “I’m feeling very sore but also very happy to have completed it. I am so proud that I have managed to raise much needed funds for a wonderful charity that has provided such crucial care for my niece Natasha. A wonderful experience never to be repeated!”

Jonathan Field ran for Langdon
Jonathan Field ran for Langdon

Kisharon’s 10 runners raised around £25,000 for the charity.

The runners included Rabbi Joshua Conway, who was their fastest runner, completing the race in 3:44, Saul Mayers and his girlfriend Lorin Bradley who ran the entire marathon together and finished in 4:41, Danielle Donne who completed in 4:28 and her daughter Miranda Shemen who finished in 3:56.

Kisharon's Rabbi Joshua Conway
Kisharon’s Rabbi Joshua Conway

Other runners include Eli Patashnik, Deborah Clayden who ran the race in 4:35 and Vic Aboudara who received his own place at the marathon and ran for Kisharon completing the race in 5:44 and then went on to volunteer at Chicken Shed in the evening.

Saul Mayers, one of Kisharon’s marathon runners spoke on behalf of himself and girlfriend Lorin Bradley, saying: The race exceeded all our expectations and was truly our most extraordinary experience. What made it that much better was the fact that Lorin and I completed it together. Our months of hard work culminated on a day that will never be forgotten.

“We came to learn about Kisharon after Lorin started working at their Equal store in Temple Fortune. The more it came to be known how remarkable and integral a charity Kisharon is, the more we realised how much of a privilege it was to be raising money for such a fantastic cause. The support we received along the way has been heartwarming.”

Richard Franklin Director of Marketing, Fundraising and Communications said: “Kisharon has nothing but admiration for the commitment demonstrated by all of the 10 runners who trained, ran and fundraised for learning disabilities – particularly on such a hot day. In an amazing effort and spirit shown over £25,000 was raised for Kisharon.”

Jewish Care’s four runners raised £20,000 to support the charity’s vital work. Josh Domb, 27, was on the Jewish Care team and finished in 3:10. He said: “I’m buzzing, it was an incredible experience from start to finish and I’m very pleased to have been able to raise money for such a great charity which has done so much for my family.

“The support the whole way around the course was pretty indescribable. Having hundreds of total strangers shout your name and cheer you on makes a huge difference. The unbelievable noise from the crowd made crossing Tower Bridge pretty special and seeing my parents cheering their hearts out in the grandstand with 100 meters to go will also stay with me for a very long time. The toughest part was getting out of bed this morning!”

The charity is very important to Josh, whose pre-marathon post in his running blog was dedicated to celebrating his grandma, who is now living with dementia. He wrote: “When my grandma, Diane, went to live at Jewish Care’s Otto Schiff home last year, I was very keen to find a way to show my appreciation for everything that the team at Jewish Care has done for her. It has been tough for the entire family and I don’t know what we would have done without the team at Jewish Care. Running a marathon for this excellent charity, whose work has benefited my whole family, was a great way to show my gratitude and I’ve had an incredible time preparing for this day.”

Jewish Care's Matt Domb
Jewish Care’s Josh Domb

Marking his 20th year of working for Jewish Care, Director of Fundraising and Marketing, Daniel Carmel-Brown ran his first marathon in 4:56. Speaking at the charity’s post-race reception for the runners, he said: “This was the most amazing thing I have ever done in my life and definitely the toughest, both physically and mentally. I dedicated my marathon to the 1400 colleagues and 3000 volunteers who work tirelessly for Jewish Care to support the Jewish community of London and the South East. It was the thought of them that got me to the finish.

“At mile 15 I started to feel increasing pain which 10 miles later became unbelievable cramp. At this moment I had to remember my #reasontorun, for all my colleagues over 20 years, for all those who had supported me, for me and all the hard work I had put in before the day. There is digging deep and there is reaching beyond what is normal for a human being to do to achieve a lifetime ambition. It was like an out of body experience, I learnt that it is truly the case that ‘thinking the impossible’ does make things possible.

“Like most families, mine too has been touched by Jewish Care for decades, and the charity did, until January, continue to play an important role in the life of my one remaining grandparent. Sadly, my grandma, Lily Ezekiel passed away early in the new year but I witnessed the incredible care given by such dedicated colleagues. People from over 70 nations supporting one community – in a world of division, this is such a special and uniting force.”

Matt Blom, 26, who lives in Mill Hill, and is a Producer at Talk Radio, added after his marathon achievement in 5:31. He said: “I’m delighted, it was an amazing experience, the atmosphere is what made it with everyone cheering you on and running across Tower Bridge is something I will never forget, it was an incredible moment.

“I ran for Jewish Care because I’ve seen some of the great work that they do and also because they will probably help at least one person in every family in our community at some point.”

Yael Kohn, 42, ran the marathon in 3:59. She lives in Ranana with her three children and travelled from Israel to run for Jewish Care. The real estate manager said: “I have always dreamt of completing the London Marathon and to do this supporting the work of Jewish Care is a truly worthy way to achieve this dream.”

Josh Nathan raised £2,500 for Jewish Blind & Disabled. Josh, whose dad Malcolm Nathan lives in the charity’s Frances & Dick James Court building in Mill Hill East, said: “Just two years ago the thought of running even one mile was painful. Yet, here I am now, having just completed the London Marathon, after months of lengthy early morning and late night runs.

“The run was very hard, but knowing who I did it for made it easier. I wanted to be able to give something back to Jewish Blind & Disabled, a special place that does so much for so many including my dad. Seeing him living independently with dignity has meant so much to me and my family and this was my way of saying thank you to an amazing charity.”

JBD's Josh Nathan
JBD’s Josh Nathan

Team Jami had a trio of runners take on the challenge – Jack Morgan, Mark Plesner and Nikki Teper.

For the first time, the focus on this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon was on mental health, with Heads Together as charity of the year, whom Jami is a supporter of. Saying how proud he was to be running for Jami, Jack, who finished in 4.07, said: “It’s been so powerful in starting much needed conversations and raising awareness for mental health”.

Nikki, who crossed the line in a time of 4.30, said she was “astounded and impressed” with the amount of mental health charities that people were running for, adding that “there were much more than when I ran in 2013 which shows that the profile of mental health is growing.”

Jami's Nikki Teper and family
Jami’s Nikki Teper and family

Mark, who has run the marathon before, finished in 5.47. He said “I always love running the London Marathon, it’s a true accomplishment. I’m so thrilled that all the money raised will go towards helping Jami. A fantastic charity that provides much needed services for people with mental illness in the Jewish Community.”

World Jewish Relief fielded its largest ever team of runners in this year’s event. Twenty one people from across the UK, Italy and France donned WJR vests and they’ve already raised more than £43,000 for the charity.

Paul Anticoni, WJR’s Chief Executive, said: “It’s incredible to have a Marathon team like this with so many people putting in the training and commitment to support World Jewish Relief. It’s a tremendous achievement and a life-changing experience, not just for the runners but for all the people the money raised will benefit.”

Speaking after the race, Lewis Nelken said: “I’m in pain but most of all I’m very happy because it’s an incredible achievement. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for about six or seven years and it’s very overwhelming having finished. The atmosphere was absolutely incredible with the crowd screaming your name as encouragement. It’s something you’ll never experience any other time.”

Camilla de Kare-Silver was relieved to have crossed the finish line, saying: “I appreciate everyone’s support that they gave me along the way, the crowd were amazing. World Jewish Relief was amazing. I feel OK, I could do with a good stretch. I would do it again but not for a very long time.”

Natalie Tydeman, WJR trustee said: “The run sadly did not go as planned… But the target time was only one part of the goal. The more important goal was raising money to support World Jewish Relief’s fantastic work combating poverty and bringing hope to disadvantaged Jewish communities. On that front I am thrilled with the result. The £4000 raised makes a painful few hours seem very worthwhile.

World Jewish Relief runners Maurice and Sam Helfgott, received a surprise mention during the official BBC One coverage of the London Marathon. The BBC’s Brendan Foster, who was commentating on his last marathon after 37 years chose his final announcement to speak about his friend, “Maurice Helfgott who’s running with his son Sam and they’re running for the charity World Jewish Relief, who brought his father Ben Helfgott to the UK after the war in 1945. Ben survived the Holocaust, was brought to Britain aged 16 and he ended up being the captain of the Great Britain weight lifting team in the 1956 and ’60 Olympics. He won a bronze medal in the 1958 Commonwealth Games. Good luck to Maurice Helfgott and his son Sam and best wishes to Ben who is now 87. That’s my last mention in the London Marathon, thank you.”

WJR’s runners were: Lucy Barnett, Victoria Herman, Joseph Davis, Camilla de Kare-Silver, Lewis Nelken, Mikhael Giabicani, Jonathan Levy, Tal Gurevich, Maurice and Sam Helfgott, Haim Nuriel, Gady Piazza, Shoshi Silverblatt, Gavriella Simson, Justin Samuels, Daniel Susser, Natalie Tydeman, Jun Wu, Spencer Simons, Daniel and Eli Kasmir

World Jewish Relief's runners
World Jewish Relief’s runners

Norwood saw its 25 runners raise over more than £60,000.

Gary Behar from Borehamwood is no stranger to Norwood challenges and only recently completed the L.A Marathon. He completed the course in 4.16, and said: “It was an incredible experience with amazing support from everyone. Delighted to have run for Norwood. I hope my efforts help raise awareness and support its future!!”

Mike Ginsberg from South Africa was their fastest participant, completing it in 2.50. He said: “It was an absolute honour to have run the race knowing that all the hard yards were for a great cause. It’s not everyday you get to do something you love while being able to give back as well and Norwood provided me the opportunity to do so.” 

Minesh Patel from Elstree finished his first marathon in 4.20. He said: “I’m proud to have had the opportunity to take part in the London Marathon. It is truly an iconic event and the spectators are fantastic. I am very pleased to be involved in fund raising for Norwood and would do so again in the future.”

Great-grandmother Flora Frank, 74, ran her 35th marathon – her 20th in London – completed in 6:41 and even with a slight knee injury, she finished with a smile on her face and a spring in her step. Having completed the Jerusalem Marathon four weeks ago, she dedicated this marathon to David Sacks and her beloved brother Nissim, who was a resident at Ravenswood for many years. She is an inspiration and has once again raised a phenomenal £15,000 for Norwood.

Ian Tate, Head of Challenges and Donor Care, Norwood, said: “We are exceptionally proud of all our runners and grateful for their incredible efforts on behalf of the charity. The funds raised will go towards helping vulnerable children and their families, children with special educational needs and adults with learning disabilities.”

Two of Norwood's runners
Two of Norwood’s runners
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