Challenge For Jewish Runners At The Chicago Marathon

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Jan. 4, 2011
  • Updated Jan. 4, 2011 at 10:17 AM UTC

Marathon organizers are not commenting if they were aware of the conflict.

Jewish runners participating in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October will face an added hurdle. The race, which is slated for October 9, occurs one day after Yom Kippur.

Yom Kippur is the holiest day on the Jewish calendar and calls for a 25-hour fast. This means marathoners will only be able to eat the night before the marathon.

“To Jewish runners, you’re forcing a choice,” said four-time Chicago veteran Barry Stoltze. “Either sacrifice your running and don’t do the marathon this year, or sacrifice your religion and cheat on the fast.”

Organizers of the marathon have indicated that the race had been scheduled years in advance and did not divulge whether or not they knew about the holiday.

“It’s not a simple date change,” said marathon spokesman Jeremy Borling. “It’s really wheels that are in motion several years in advance pointing to that one date.”

Sports physician Dr. Sara Brown says that runners who decide to fast should sit out the marathon, noting that fasting and long runs do not go well together.

For More: Chicago Tribune

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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