Jewish Chronicle Sports News November 9th, 2007

Success for veterans on Israeli Roads (Race date: 19th October 2007)


Amazing Israeli veteran Haile Satayin, aged 52 according to his passport although he only admits to 46, last week won the Holon 10K road race in very hot conditions in 30:31, at the head of the field of 1200 runners.

In August, Satayin became the oldest finisher in the history of the World Athletics Championships, coming 19th in the marathon and qualifying for next year's Olympics in the process.

Former Londoner Daniel Felsenstein, 50, was officially the first veteran over-50 in Holon, in a time of 39:34, whilst fellow ex-Londoner Mindy Ebrahimoff, also 50, came second in the womens' over-50 age group in 50:24.

Kastor ends her season and looks towards Beijing

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Deena Kastor, the most successful Jewish runner currently competing, has enjoyed mixed fortunes in the final two races of her 2007 season.  On October 8th she won the American National 10k Road Race Championships in Boston from a womens'-only field of 7000 runners.  Leading from the outset at an aggressive five-minutes per mile pace, she steadily moved away from her rivals to win by 40 seconds in 32:01. "Ryan Lampa, statistician for RunningUSA, informed me that this is my 23rd National title. I guess I've been in this sport a while."

Six days later, Kastor competed over the half-marathon distance, in the World Road Running Championships in Udine, Italy. On this occasion the race was dominated by Kenyan-born Netherlander Lornah Kiplagat, who won in a world record time of 1:06:25, with Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes taking the next five places. Kastor attempted to stay with the leading group for the first 5 km but dropped off the pace after that and finished in 16th position, 3 minutes 13 seconds behind Kiplagat.

Kastor says that she will now take a short break and then "narrow her focus for the Olympic Trials," referring to the Olympic Marathon trial race in Boston in April. As at the last Olympics, where she won the bronze medal in a superbly-judged race, Kastor aims to win a place in the American team for the marathon in Beijing, and to achieve this she will need to finish within the first three places in Boston. "It's going to be a multi-loop course. The crowds can see the race evolving, they can see people moving up or falling back. It gets them more involved, and that means it's a great way to race for us. I'll be timing each loop to see if I'm on pace. It's better than judging pace per mile, because each mile is different."

Referring to the concerns about heat, humidity and pollution in Beijing, Kastor pointed out that the situation was similar in Athens at the 2004 Olympics. "Conditions there weren't as bad as we thought. The Chinese are going to do everything they can; the athlete's job is to get as fit as possible, so the conditions don't matter."


Jewish Chronicle “Sport in Brief” item - November 16th, 2007

Israeli 10k road championships, Ashdod, Tuesday November 6th, 2007


Ethioipan-born athletes took the first five places in the men's Israeli 10K Road Championships  held last week in Ashdod. In hot and humid conditions Haile Satayin took the main title in 30:50, with ex-Londoner Danny Felsenstein, a professor of town  planning at the Hebrew University, winning the Over-50 title in 38:31. In the womens race, Svetlana Buchmund beat Nili Abramski by 26 seconds in 36:22.


Jewish Chronicle Sports News November 30th, 2007

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Merutz Eyal November 17th, 2007


Swiss Cottage-based Israeli Sagie Benaim, 17, returned home for a five km cross-country race of deep personal significance. This was Merutz Eyal - the Race for Eyal - in memory of Benaim's late cousin Eyal Shmueli.

Eyal was the son of Zahava Shmueli, a distance runner who won several Israeli titles between the late seventies and early nineties. Eyal was also a talented runner, who achieved a marathon time of 3 hours and 7 minutes under the guidance of Sagie's mother Mazal, who was also a several-times Israeli champion. Mazal particularly remembers his dedication in training and his smiling disposition. Eyal tragically collapsed and died at age 27 in June 2001, and his mother Zahava has organised the Merutz Eyal in his memory every year since then. It is held close to Tel Aviv in Ramat Hasharon, a place where Eyal loved to train.

Benaim told JC Sport "Merutz Eyal consists of two races: the 5K cross-country that I ran, and a 15K race that is the official Israeli 15K Championship. There were around 500 runners in the 5K, and more than a thousand in the 15K. In my race I came 7th overall, and I won my 17-19 age group. The hot conditions and sandy terrain made it quite a difficult race, but for me it was very important to fly to Israel to be there in memory of Eyal.

"Our whole family found it very difficult to cope with his loss, and we have set up a web site recording his life up to his last evening. He had gone to a karaoke club with two friends; he was preparing to sing; he had a smile on his face. But suddenly he collapsed, and he died within the hour.

"I was 16 years younger than my cousin so of course I couldn't know all sides of him, but I particularly remember his kindness, and the time he put in to help people in our community. For my family, the smile he had on his face when he fell told them that his death was that of an angel."

Website in memory of Eyal Shmueli, 1973 – 2001: www.eyal-sh.com

Trinity Great Court Run

Sam Dobin, a second year economics student at Trinity College Cambridge, last month achieved a rare feat by setting a record of 42.77 seconds in the Trinity Great Court Run. This race around the Cambridge Court, and specifically the attempt to complete it within the time taken for the college clock to chime 12, was made famous by a fictional episode in the film "Chariots of Fire".  In reality, only Lord David Burghley and Sebastian Coe had ever previously achieved the feat.  Lord Coe himself congratulated Mr Dobin on a “fantastic and very rare achievement”, while Dobin said "It’s really motivating – it’s inspired me to go from here to 2012."