Israeli Orthodox Runner Gears Up for First US Marathon
An Orthodox Jewish marathon runner from Israel will compete in her first race in the US on Sunday when she takes part in the Life Time Miami Marathon.
Beatie Deutsch, 30, is running to raise money for Beit Daniella, a charity for children with mental illnesses.
The mother-of-five, who was raised in New Jersey and moved to Israel in 2008, broke the course record for Israeli women at the 2018 Jerusalem Marathon, and has since won the Tiberias Marathon, the Israeli half marathon and marathon national championship, according to the Miami Herald.
She completed the 2017 Tel Aviv Marathon while seven months pregnant and her personal best marathon time is 2:32, which is just short of the Olympic qualifying standard.
She began racing only four years ago and has been nicknamed “Speedy Beatie.”
In May, she won a half marathon in Latvia and became the first known Orthodox Jewish woman to win an international race.
“Sports has such an important power to break down barriers,” she told the Miami Herald. “Through the running community in Israel, I have come in contact with so many people, not just Jewish but also non-Jewish. In Israel, there are a lot of stereotypes about religious Jews and people have misconceptions about what we are able to do and how oppressed we are. I have been able to break down some of those barriers.”
Deutsch told the publication “being different is not always accepted” in the community where she lives in Israel, but she was slowly changing people’s perceptions by showing that she could be a devoted wife, mother and professional athlete.
She also noted that running has transformed her physically and emotionally, and she encouraged other women to follow in her path.
She has full support of her husband, an avid cyclist, and her rabbi, who is one of her biggest fans and sends her prayers before each race.
“Mine is definitely an unconventional path to take, but I saw marathon running as an opportunity to show that you can be 100 percent totally committed to your faith and your relationship with God but still pursue athletics at the highest level,” she said. “I was really encouraged by my rabbi and mentor, who told me that we all have specific gifts, talents and strengths we are blessed with, some are more dramatic than others but everyone’s unique and part our mission is this world is to figure that out and see how we can use it to make a positive impact on the world.”
Deutsch is also doing a US speaking tour, with stops in Florida, New York and New Jersey.