Over 80,000 runners took to the streets this past Sunday for Sydney’s City2Surf, the world’s largest fun-run. The business side of things ended 40 minutes later when Liam Adams crossed the finish line at Bondi Beach with a time of 41.31, but for a group of five runners, the race meant more than beating the clock.
Inspired from a conversation at services,members of the Coogee Synagogue; Andrew Silvers, Ronny Schnapp, Wilfred Lax and his young daughter Hannah, and Youth Rabbi, Shuie Gestetner, ran the 14km course to raise charity for the Zahal Disabled Veterans Organisation (ZDVO), a global organization servicing disabled Israeli soldiers and victims of terror.
Ronny Schnapp, who galvanized the group and the fundraising effort, said he was amazed at the community’s response to the initiative.
“I ran the race last year for the ZDVO and this year I figured I would try arrange a group. The response was incredible; right away we had a group of runners and many more people who were willing to donate.”
In total, the runners raised over $1,900, but the impression they made is worth much more.
“I would never have run the race,” Schnapp said, “but the ZDVO is a very important cause and that was my motivation.
“I felt that the ZDVO had a very low profile in the Jewish community, and now, when people hear about it, they become very passionate and enthusiastic in helping out.”
Ironically dubbed ‘the Coogee Shleppers’, the group began the race with the walking stage at 9.30am, and Shuie Gestetner was first to cross the line just 90 minutes later.
Having recently spent a year studying in Israel, Gestetner said the race represented a way to give back to the soldiers and families living under the constant threat of terror.
“Chabad philosophy teaches that every instance in our lives is an opportunity to bring a little more light and goodness into the world. And I thought; ‘what better way to show that than to run 14km for someone else’s benefit.
“It was my first time running the City2Surf and it was a rewarding experience. It felt as though I were running for the soldiers themselves.”