We arrived in Israel in the afternoon after a long and stressful journey, and were greeted by hundreds of other runners crowding the Crowne Plaza. After sorting out our rooms, we attended the opening ceremony, and witnessed an incredible performance from the world-famous Shalva band. Then was the pasta-party- each of us ate as much pasta as physically possible to fuel our run.
After an early night, it was time for the run. In both the half marathon and the 10k, all of us were overwhelmed and impressed by the sheer number of people running the marathon and supporting one great cause or another, and those running the 10k participated in the community run, an opportunity to run alongside the Shalva children we had raised money for. After a long and hilly run, it was all celebration. We received our victory medals from Team Shalva, attended the victory party and visited the Kotel and the Old City.
What followed was an incredible Shabbat where we had the opportunity to hear from inspirational speakers involved in the charity, sing songs and eat. One of the most memorable parts of the trip was visiting the brand-new Shalva centre for disabled children, the most advanced in the entire world. All of us were amazed by the $60 million facilities and the effort that was put in to ensure this was a safe environment for the children. We even had the honour of meeting Yossi Samuels, the blind and deaf man who inspired his parents to create the charity, and incredibly, is able to communicate with ease and live a happy life despite his disability. Seeing the great work the money we had raised was going towards was the perfect way to cap off what was an unforgettable experience.
By Nathan Silver