Israeli athlete uses Cape marathon to qualify for Olympics

  • EY_TMR19-05773 2
Israeli athlete Beatie Deutsch is hoping to use this year’s Sanlam Cape Town Marathon on Sunday, 15 September, as a step towards qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. She is aiming to achieve a world championship time of 2:37.
by CRAIG DUMMETT | Sep 12, 2019

Deutsch, an American-born orthodox Jewish mother of five, has a personal best of 2:42. This is pretty astonishing, considering she ran her first marathon in February 2016. She does it with a simple mantra: “Dream big, set the bar high, and then take baby steps to get there.”

After finishing high school in the United States, Deutsch travelled to Israel to further her Jewish studies. She met her husband there, and the couple settled down and started a family. Between parenting and holding down a full-time job as a communications officer, real exercise wasn’t a possibility. “But that all changed one afternoon while on holiday in 2015,” she says. In a beach race with her five siblings – an annual family tradition – she came last. “I remember turning around to my husband while gasping for breath, and telling him, ‘I’m going to run a marathon’.”

Four months later, Deutsch ran her first marathon in Tel Aviv. She thought she would finish at 4:30, but came in at an impressive 3:27. The marathon bug had bitten.

A year later, and seven months into her pregnancy with her fifth child, she ran the Jerusalem Marathon, a much hillier course than the one she had done in Tel Aviv. “I couldn’t walk afterwards, the last 16km were really intense. My kids pushed me in a stroller! But it’s the best I’ve ever felt in pregnancy, labour, and delivery.”

In 2018, for her third long run, Deutsch set the goal of becoming the fastest woman for her country on the course, which she achieved, setting a new course record of 3:09 for women at the Jerusalem Marathon.

Crucial to her success and joy is the emphasis this unassuming woman places on her faith. Judaism’s modesty requirements mean that she runs races fully covered, wearing a skirt that reaches below her knees. She admits that at times this has slowed her down, but says, “My faith is what powers me to the finish line. It’s the knowledge that my strength and speed as a runner are really all a gift from G-d. I can’t take credit for winning any races.”

Deutsch holds the well-being of others close to her heart. She was deeply affected by the tragic death at age 14 of a cousin who suffered from an eating disorder. Her Jerusalem Marathon victory enabled her to raise more than R380 000 to help establish a facility to help young people with mental illness adjust to life post hospitalisation. “I’m prouder of that than of the marathon victory itself,” she says.

Preparing for Israel’s national championships at the Tiberias Marathon, she started doing regular speed workouts and enjoying the support of long runs with her training group, before winning the national half-marathon championships in pouring rain in a time of 1:19.

But it was in January this year that Deutsch’s personal mantra came into sharp focus. Caught by surprise by the course record-holder in front of her on the turnaround point of the Tiberias Marathon course along the Sea of Galilee, “I started saying over and over again, ‘G-d is with me every step of the way and anything is possible’, and really believing it.”

After crossing the halfway mark, she picked up speed. “I was right behind her for two minutes, and she said to me, ‘This is not my day’, and encouraged me to go ahead. I did, and won in a time of 2:42. I wasn’t even tired.”

The experience, says Deutsch, “shifted my mental perspective”, and she went on to win the national championship, and then qualified for state funding to become an Olympic candidate for 2020.

Part of her preparation involves undertaking several world-recognised marathons to incrementally improve her personal-best times. “I chose the Cape Town Marathon because the timing works well with my altitude training, and because it’s a Gold-standard course, which gives me an opportunity to move up the rankings for Tokyo,” she says.

Comment

  1. RadEditor - HTML WYSIWYG Editor. MS Word-like content editing experience thanks to a rich set of formatting tools, dropdowns, dialogs, system modules and built-in spell-check.
    RadEditor's components - toolbar, content area, modes and modules
       
    Toolbar's wrapper 
     
    Content area wrapper
    RadEditor's bottom area: Design, Html and Preview modes, Statistics module and resize handle.
    It contains RadEditor's Modes/views (HTML, Design and Preview), Statistics and Resizer
    Editor Mode buttonsStatistics moduleEditor resizer
      
    RadEditor's Modules - special tools used to provide extra information such as Tag Inspector, Real Time HTML Viewer, Tag Properties and other.
       

Newsletter

My Place advert 300px x 300px 110820

kosherworld

AfrikaTikkunApril

Yad Aharon GENERIC2020

Chev36ONEJR-GIF-300x300-updated
 

Follow us on