May 30, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
May 30, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

10-Year-Old Sruli Kaniel of Passaic Completes Houston Half-Marathon

Yisroel “Sruli” Kaniel from Passaic is just like any other 10-year-old boy: He loves going to camp in the summer, spending time with his family and hanging out with his friends. What sets him apart, however, is the fact that on January 20 he completed his first half-marathon. Flying to Texas to participate in the Houston Marathon with his father, Meir Kaniel, Sruli clocked in his roughly 13-mile run at two hours and 15 minutes. The father and son duo have been training together since October, and for Sruli, completing the marathon is a big step forward in his plans to eventually take part in a full marathon. Prior to the run, his family set up a GoFundMe page so that he could raise money for the charity of his choice. By the time the marathon took place, he had raised almost $6,000.

Sruli has had an interest in running and athletics for quite some time. Having watched his self-described “running enthusiast” father compete in a number of different races and marathons over the years, he’s always been interested in participating himself. When he approached his father and expressed his desire to start training, Meir eagerly welcomed him aboard and allowed him to join him on his runs. Speaking with The Jewish Link in an interview, Meir elaborated on their training process and the marathon, and shared how he saw the opportunity as an extra bonding experience for the two of them.

“I was so excited when Sruli said he wanted to start training with me,” Meir explained. “I thought: this will be a great chance for us to spend some quality time together in the week. We would go out for a run every couple of nights, and in the three months since we started he hasn’t missed a beat. He’s very committed, even with all of his other responsibilities. I’ve run the Houston Marathon for a few years now, and Sruli was set on doing it with me. And he did! We stayed together the whole way through, except for the last mile when Sruli ran ahead. I’m just so proud of him!”

At times, Sruli says his training was hard, but well worth it. Since starting out he has already ran in a few shorter races, but was ready to take things to the next level. Though his friends comment that he’s crazy for attempting such difficult things, Sruli approaches the races with a smile and an eager outlook. For the half-marathon, he finished sixth within his 7-11 age bracket.

“I was so excited to get to do the race,” Sruli explained. “Before, I usually did 10ks and this was a lot longer and harder. We had to train a lot for it and I wanted to do well. Now that it’s finished, I’m really tired. I really can’t wait until I can start training though for the next one!”

Twenty-seven thousand runners took part in the Houston Marathon this year. Despite how many people there were, Sruli refused to allow them to break his concentration. When the race kicked off, his mind switched into the gear it goes to during training and he was set for the duration of the time it took for him to finish. His father, running along right beside him, would check up on him from time to time, asking how he was doing and making sure he was pacing himself correctly.

“Me and my dad stayed close together for most of the race,” Sruli went on to say. “Every so often he would ask me if it was getting to be too hard. There were times when it did, but I knew I was going to finish. If I got tired we would slow down and then pick things back up when I was ready. When I finally crossed the finish line, it was the best feeling ever.”

Olami is the charity Sruli raised money for in anticipation of the race. According to their website, they are an organization that is “committed to inspiring young adults to achieve their Jewish greatness.” The GoFundMe page is still active and accepting donations. If you would like to make a donation in Sruli’s name, you can do so at https://www.gofundme.com/Srulimarathon.

By Adam Samuel


Adam Samuel is a journalist from Teaneck. He blogs at adamssoapbox.com.

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles