British Emunah director Deborah Nathan praised the “unbelievable efforts” of the charity’s six runners who completed the London Marathon raising£16,000 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. “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.
“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.”
Roey Freilich added: “I had a slight injury which slowed me down and I saw a physio on the day. I met David [Bondt] half way through and I just said to him to carry on and I went on to the next treatment station. I had torn my calf muscle, nothing major. For me, it was the mental fortitude to get through and to finish no matter what. I was exhausted by the end and in quite a lot of pain but it hasn’t stopped me wanting to do the marathon [for Emunah] again next year. It was a good day for a phenomenal cause.”
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.”