By Simon Round
On Sunday 29th August the Maccabi GB Community Fun Run takes place as a physical event for the first time since 2019. Over the last few years this has become one of the biggest days for both communal fundraising and Jewish aerobic activity as thousands of people attempt events from 1km to 10km – the bravest can even do multiple races. This year, the Board of Deputies is participating for the first time.
There are very few of us who don’t want to raise money for charity. However, I do understand that there are many more for whom the term “fun run” is an oxymoron. I was one of them.
As an unfit student at Leeds University, my fitness schedule consisted of hauling myself off the sofa once or twice during the evening in order to fetch a beer from the fridge.
My friend and housemate Steve was different. He was always up early to run around the park and implored me to accompany him. Eventually I caved in – found a rather dusty pair of trainers in the back of the cupboard and set off for an easy couple of miles. Or at least I thought it would be easy. It turned out that since my last game of football a couple of years before, my muscles had atrophied while my lungs, more accustomed to 20 roll-ups a day rather than 5k around the park, were giving me sharp and painful signals to stop. I managed about 500 metres before collapsing on a park bench.
I thought that would be it for me and running but as the long summer holiday came around, I decided to give it another go. Under cover of darkness I managed a 15 minute shuffle around the block. That 15 minutes turned into 30. By the time the new university term arrived I was running up to eight miles a day – I was fit. The scales barely flickered when I stepped onto them. I could see actual muscles on my legs. The following year I ran the Leeds-Bradford Marathon. Over the next 30 years, I conquered the London Marathon three times and ran countless half marathons and 10Ks. Somewhere along that journey I realised that running could not only be fun, it could make me euphoric. It was the cheapest and healthiest drug on the market. There were days I thought I could run forever and felt genuinely disappointed when I had to stop. Along the way I raised a fair bit for various charities – Jewish Care among them.
All this is a roundabout way of saying that you can do two very important things by lacing up your running shoes and training for 29th August. Firstly, you can change your life, gain a new passion, increase your health and look great. Secondly you can raise a few pounds which will enable us to do even more of our crucial work over a huge and diverse number of areas, from education to religious freedom to advocacy.
If you don’t want to run you can be a volunteer via the JVN to ensure the event goes with a bang, And if you just want a good day out, there’s a charity fair, food stalls and a very high chance that you will see any number of old friends and acquaintances in various stages of distress.
To sign up for the run, click here. If that sounds too energetic you can text a donation which will be split between all the participating charities. For more information about the event and charities involved, visit the event website.
If you would like to raise funds for the Board of Deputies email me at email@example.com
Simon Round is Board of Deputies Communications Officer