On February 13th, some of the most athletic and dedicated runners gathered for a meal at Renaissance Cafe. Ocean Parkway Runners held their 1st Annual Gala Dinner and their attendance was to capacity. Selling out after just a few days, OPR’s members looked forward to dining and chatting with their running community in their non athletic wear. However, the gala’s attendees got a lot more than a dinner and camaraderie.
OPR hosted an impressive lineup of speakers. MC’d by Ralph Nasar, attendees heard words of Torah by Rabbi Joseph Beyda followed by a message about the power of community by Cheri Srour. Alan Safdieh graced the crowd with the story behind his personal health journey, powered by his passion for running, while Ari Baum taught about the power of will. Ralph Toussie shared a message about pushing yourself mentally as well as physically to run your best race followed by OPR’s founder, David Balassiano, who told us how OPR started and how amazed and grateful he is for how much it has grown. From a few friends running on Ocean Parkway to a Community of over 150 runners mostly running in Brooklyn, NY & Deal, NJ.
OPR was humbled to hear from Beatie Deutsch who flew in from Israel weeks after finishing the Teveria Marathon in 2 hours and 42 minutes, taking the title of Israel’s National Marathon Champion. Beatie and her family, which include 5 young children live in Har Nof, Jerusalem where she is training for the Tokyo Olympics for 2020 with her coach, none other than Hakadosh Baruch Hu. All jokes aside, Beatie refers to herself as a “proud Jewish Momma and ambassador of Hashem.” While she does have a real life human coach to train for the Olympics, Beatie chalks up all of her talent as a gift from Hashem. At the gala, Beatie shared race recaps from her four marathons, one of which she completed seven months pregnant. She empowered the crowd to embrace the talents and the gift that Hashem bestows upon each of us, and not to let it go to waste. The crowd was captivated by Beatie’s narrative and everyone left on a high, a different kind of runner’s high.