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The Fastest Woman in Israel is an Orthodox Mother of Five

The Fastest Woman in Israel is an Orthodox Mother of Five

Beatie Deutsch hits the winner's stand in the 2018 Jerusalem Marathon.

by

The 35,000 runners from 72 countries competing in last week's Jerusalem Marathon day races were shocked to see a petite mother of 5 young children cross the finish line as the fastest Israeli woman – covering the 26-mile course in 3 hours and 9 minutes.

Even more incredible, she did it all wearing modest Orthodox attire: long sleeves, skirt, and head covering.

Originally from Passaic, New Jersey, and now living in Jerusalem, Beatie got into competitive running a few years ago. "When my younger sister beat me in a race," she tells Aish.com, "I knew it was time to get back in shape. So I set a goal of running a marathon as the best way to push me."

Beatie ran her first marathon at Tel Aviv in 2016. "My only goal was to cross the finish line," she says. "When I registered, I estimated my finish time at 4:40." She surprised herself by completing the course in 3:27.

The next year, she again ran the Tel Aviv Marathon – this time seven months pregnant, after getting a green light from her father, an obstetrician, that the race posed no risk to mother or child. She recalls: "Other runners told me after the race that seeing a pregnant woman running gave them encouragement to push on, thinking: If she can do it, we can too!"

For Beatie, running is an important mind-body connection. "I've always felt that running is a very spiritual thing. It's my time to have a conversation with God. Some people go to the forest to speak with God. I do it while running.

"We're so busy all the time, and for me running is a way to disconnect from all the distractions and to focus inside. I can have a spiritual high from running – all the time."

How does wearing a skirt and head covering affect Beatie's ability to run competitively?

"I have skirts that are comfortable, and I'm happy that dressing modestly doesn't compromise or inhibit my ability to achieve in life," she says. "In the sports world, everyone is typically half-dressed. I think it's empowering for all women to know that you don't have to expose your body to win."

Beatie trained hard for Jerusalem 2018, running every day except Shabbat. Yet even she was surprised by the winning result.

"I trained hard, so it wasn't like I just showed up to the marathon and asked for a miracle," she says. "But I spent a lot of the race thinking of the many Psalms and prayers that acknowledge God as the source of our strength. I prayed the entire race for God to carry me to the finish line, and I felt Him guiding me every step of the way."

Beyond the personal experience, Beatie was running to raise money for Beit Daniella, a rehabilitation center for teens struggling with emotional challenges, named in memory of Beatie's cousin who recently passed away.

"Winning the race has enabled me to focus publicity on Beit Daniella, and bring some measure of comfort to the family," she says.

When she's not running, Beatie is caring for her family and holding down a full-time job as a liason for the Jewish educational group, Olami. "Winning the race certainly gives me extra credibility in speaking with college students!" she observes.

What's next for Beatie? She notes that the Jerusalem Marathon is a particularly difficult course – hilly and windy. Experts have suggested that on a flatter course, she could achieve a very competitive marathon time of 2:45. With that goal in mind, she might compete in the January 2019 Tiberias Marathon.

Does Beatie find running marathons out of character for an Orthodox mother of five?

"God gave me running talent. Our role in this world is to take the raw material He's given us and use it to the fullest. This whole experience has brought me closer to God, who gave me these strengths and talents. My motto is: Believe in the impossible, give it your all, and ask Hashem to help."

Congratulate Beatie with a donation to Beit Daniella.

March 18, 2018

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The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 3

(3) Rachel, March 19, 2018 3:19 AM

Mazal tov and please recommend a skirt for runners

I stopped running years ago and have never been able to find a skirt that works for running. The straight ones impede my stride, the flared ones tangle around my legs, and the short ones aren't tznius. Help!

(2) Shelley Rothman-Benhaim, March 19, 2018 1:20 AM

What an inspiring accomplishment!

See Beatie run. See Beatie win the Women's Jerusalem 2018 Marathon! What an inspiring accomplishment!

(1) Nancy, March 18, 2018 8:31 PM

Kol Ha Kavod!

I recently started running and I love it! I'm not sure I will be entering any marathons, but that's okay. Running makes me feel euphoric. ? You are awesome and I will push myself further because of your accomplishments.

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