TEAM YACHAD RECRUITING FOR JANUARY 31 HALF-MARATHON IN MIAMI
Team Yachad is busy training for the 2011 ING Half-Marathon in Miami. The countdown in on to the finish line Sunday, January 31: three months; 13.1 miles; one certified training coach; 40 dedicated team members from eight states committed to raising $3,000 each for the organization as they train for the big day. Several Yachad members themselves will be running with this year’s team.
The bar has been raised to recruit 75-100 members from all over the country for Team Yachad this year.
This is the second year that Yachad will be participating in the Miami Half-Marathon.
Led by Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, National Director of Yachad/National Jewish Council for Disabilities (NJCD), last year’s initial participation was a huge success, with 30 participants raising $25,000. Many of the 2010 team members, who were then first-time runners, will be returning south from all across America.
Yachad, the flagship program of the Orthodox Union’s National Jewish Council for Disabilities (NJCD), provides unique social, educational and recreational programs for individuals with learning, developmental and physical disabilities.
“Yachad works with team members to prepare for all aspects of the race: physically, financially and emotionally. The warm and dedicated team works together to inspire the best of each other and cheer along,” declared Eli Hagler, Assistant Director of Yachad, who is also training to run with the Miami team.
Jasmine Graham of the New York Road Runners Club is a certified coach who has been hired to customize training plans for each runner who wishes to partake of her services. Several times leading up to last year’s race, the New York-area runners met up to train in the cold together in Central Park.
Fundraising materials are available to help runners raise money to solicit and collect pledges. Once the goal of $3,000 is reached, Team Yachad provides roundtrip airfare to Miami, hotel accommodations, guaranteed race admission and the payment of all associated fees and kosher pre-and post-race parties.
According to Dr. Lichtman, who ran his first half-marathon last year, “Running a half-marathon takes a lot of work, time, and effort; all things that many people don’t have after fulfilling personal and professional responsibilities. But we were very proud of ourselves and of what we accomplished. Individually, completing the Marathon was a personal achievement, but collectively, it was a resounding show of support for Team Yachad and in the best spirit of mutual support to reach a common goal.”
“We’re Running Hand in Hand” is once again Team Yachad’s slogan, to emphasize their message of reaching out to those with disabilities to be included in the greater Jewish community and mainstream activities they otherwise may not have a chance to participate in, such as a marathon.
“Whether you walk the 13.1 miles, or run, or alternate between the two – for those who are initially reluctant at the thought of participating in such an experience, this is a perfect opportunity to prove yourself wrong and be part of something truly exceptional!” declared Eli Hagler.
“I firmly believe that anything in life is possible – not everything in this world is doable, but anything that you really set your mind to can be accomplished…including running in a major marathon with little training!” declared Dr. Lichtman.
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.