How a rabbi trained for New York Marathon by performing circumcisions

Sport on the Internet
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The Independent Online
What are 173 male dentists doing tomorrow morning at 10.30 in New York? They are all taking part in the New York Marathon, now in its 28th year.

This is one of the many pieces of information available from the official web site for the New York Marathon. The site is full of statistics on the runners, breaking down all the 30,463 entrants by age (most are between 30 and 39), by sex (21,627 men and 8,836 women), by state if American (8,854 from New York), or by country: the best represented visitors are the French, with 2,261 competitors. In case you needed to know, six per cent of the runners are divorced.

The oldest is Sam Gadless at 90, who only took up marathon running five years ago. He will be joined in the race by his 55-year-old son and 25- year-old grandson.

There is also a rabbi, much of whose training consists of walking across New York on Saturdays to perform circumcisions as Jewish Law forbids driving on the Sabbath.

There are also 479 investment and stock brokers down to compete - a little light relaxation after a busy week. Fortunately the course does not go anywhere near Wall Street so the runners will not have to avoid suicidal stockbrokers or bouncing dead cats.

The site includes a very detailed map of New York and the course, training tips, a list of all entrants including the main runners.

The other big city marathons, Boston and London, are also represented on the web. The race in Boston on 15 April last year was the city's 100th marathon and their celebration site offers an overall history of the race with a more detailed decade by decade breakdown, a 3-D movie of the course, a pace calculator, a real audio link to various interviews and a searchable database of all the 1996 runners.

The official website for the Boston Marathon enables you to print-off a race application form for the 1998 race and enter as long as you meet their rather stringent qualifying times.

Information on the London Marathon can be found on sites provided by Greenwich Council and Britannia Internet Magazine, which provides a history of the race.

Pheidippides has a lot to answer for.

- Edward Abelson


Official New York Marathon site:

Official Boston Marathon site:

1997 Boston Marathon:

A Celebration of 100th Boston Marathon:

London Marathon:

1997 London Marathon:

Runner's Web Marathon Links: