Pre-Race NYC Marathon Minyan Gives Spiritual Strength to Runners

Before this year’s NYC Marathon began on Staten Island, a large number of Orthodox Jewish runners joined the “Marathon Minyan.” There, participants were able to daven, stretch, enjoy a kosher bite of food and get strength and blessings from each other before the race. This is the 50th anniversary of the 26.2 mile race, and while it is enjoyed by people of all faiths and backgrounds, there are more than 200 observant Jews who have partaken of the minyan. Runners have used the service to say kaddish and even to meet their soulmate, as one couple did in 2008. Participants even once got the date of the Marathon permanently changed from October to November so that it wouldn’t conflict with Simchas Torah. It has been held on the first Sunday in November thereafter. Teaneck resident Martin Bodek said, “Praying before you run certainly gives you a boost.” The 1983-founded minyan’s originator Peter Berkowsky is now 79 and no longer runs but still attends the service. “I gave up running but I can’t give up running the minyan,” he said. Read more here.





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