Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Running with Jews in Harlem

Yesterday I got in 4.5 morning miles - only did 3 miles late last night - just too tired, hope I have a better day today, going to head out for 4.5 at 80%, let's see if my body is on the same page. Running with Jews, oh Snap! You're not going to "go there" Lance, are you? Yes I am going to "go there....and why? Well that's how I flow - I "go there", besides my "GrandPap" was Jewish - yup for real ya'll. I was 13 years old and saw the movie “Marathon Man” (1976) the story of Babe Levy (Dustin Hoffman), a Jewish graduate student at Columbia University and long distance runner. He is at odds with an ex-Nazi death camp doctor named Christian Szell (Laurence Olivier). Szell, also a former SS Nazi dentist, tortures Babe with a dentist’s drill, mistakenly assuming he knows where a fortune in diamonds is hidden in New York City. In the end, Babe manages to literally outrun his tormentors and he eventually turns the tables on Szell in a climactic scene at the Central Park reservoir. Being a marathon runner, Babe is driven and focused. A film critic stated “In the end, it is Babe’s ability to withstand pain and his endurance - products of his running as well as his heritage - that allow him to triumph over his Nazi persecutor.” Great film & must see, How about some real life? In the 1930's there was an AAU (amateur athletic union) running club called the German-American Athletic Club where Jewish marathon coach Max Silver guided the squad to the 1935 AAU national marathon championship. However later that year it was revealed that much of the leadership of that squad was comprised of Nazi-sympathizers - the club thus disbanded. Many Jewish runners entering competition had few choices in finding a welcoming running club - many NYC running clubs did not want Jews in their clubs. However Harlem's New York Pioneer Club (NYPC) , that's right my man Ted Corbitt's club, welcomed Jewish runners and many Jewish runners found a running club home affiliation with the NYPC during and after World War II - they were very successful in the Marathon, winning the team title in the AAU championships in 1954, 1955 and winning the Boston Marathon team trophy in 1955. And yes, Jewish Runners like Nat Cirulnick who were running with Ted Corbitt in the Pioneer Club like Ted Corbitt later became President of the New York Road Runners. That's exactly how it went down ya'll, in Harlem back in the day. Rosh Hashanah starts at sundown today. Those practicing will blow the shofar trumpet made from a ram's horn and have meals including apples & honey symbolize a "sweet new year". Happy New year to those of the Jewish faith & everyone! Have a great day!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

From Miracle Girl,

Lance, great linkage to your historical past. Thanks for sharing.

mk said...

you should join the JRunners they are doing a race at the end of this month

andrey said...

I think that the German-American Athletic are the most popular and hardest in the world , because the won a lot of championship , medals , etc.But I think that they will need genericviagra when are going to be 65 years old.