(December 11, 2019 / JNS) A marathon runner in Israel may have to put her Olympic dreams on hold after a women’s marathon in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games has been moved from Sunday to Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath and day of rest.
A late switch in the Olympic schedule will prevent Bracha “Beatie” Deutsch, a Shabbat-observant mother of five, from competing in the marathon that was originally slated for Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020.
“I felt like I was punched in the stomach this morning,” wrote Deutsch—nicknamed the “Marathon Mom”—on Facebook last week after learning of the date change. She noted that running has been “very compatible” with her religious lifestyle, until now.
“Suddenly, things got real very quickly,” she wrote. “Because I’ve been pretty public about my Olympic dream … and I’ve invested a whole lot to get myself there … and what if, what if after all that, I make it and I can’t even run?!”
Deutsch, a resident of Har Nof, Jerusalem originally from the United States (she made aliyah in 2009), remains hopeful that the race date will be changed, saying she will continue to train and push herself to qualify for the Olympics.
She said, “I’m not letting go yet. I am a fighter, I don’t give up easily and I will do whatever I can to get the Olympic marathon date changed. It’s hard to fully invest myself when I don’t even know if I’m going to be able to run, but life isn’t always about the results, sometimes the journey is even more important. And I’m here for the journey.”
The runner added that “I may not make it the Olympics. … But one thing I do know is that I will continue to proudly represent what it means to be an Orthodox Jewish women and professional runner for Israel.”
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