Between seeing patients at his busy ophthalmology practice, raising four kids and operating the virtual minyan locator GoDaven.com, Bergenfield resident Dr. Yosi Fishkin has managed to squeeze in one more thing: training for the 2021 TCS New York City marathon. As part of celebrating his 50th birthday, Fishkin committed himself to participating in the 50th New York City marathon—“50 for 50”—and made it his goal to run all 26.2 miles for the very first time in his life. Ahead of the marathon, which will be this Sunday, November 7, Fishkin has been raising money for Jewish nonprofit Sharsheret, a vital resource for women diagnosed with breast and ovarian cancer.
Although he’s never run the full length of a marathon before, Fishkin has been running on and off his entire life. In the years he was “on,” Fishkin explained that he frequently faced running injuries, something that is common for regular runners who might be training too hard. Two years ago, in an attempt to get back into personal fitness, Fishkin joined a local gym; but as the pandemic set in, the gym closed down, leaving him with only one option—running outdoors.
“Getting into running was my big COVID activity,” Fishkin said. “I decided to really study and analyze running, researching everything I could on proper form and position. If you can engage proper form, then you can up your mileage without injury. With this I realized that a marathon, which has been one of my lifelong goals, is something that would be achievable.”
Heading out as early as 5:30 a.m., Fishkin has managed to fit his training in before attending Shacharit during the week. And on Sundays, he goes on one long run. “My family, especially my wife, Lisa, is gracious enough to allow me the time for training,” he shared. As part of his preparation for the marathon, he has also competed in several races, including a 5K, 10K, 13K and two half-marathons.
With tens of thousands of runners participating every year, the New York City marathon is nearly impossible to enter without prior running history. That is, unless you are running for charity. For Fishkin, Sharsheret was the natural choice of charity, with so many in the community who benefit from its resources and sing its praises.
“Even though I’m an ophthalmologist, and I focus on eyes, my patients disclose their medical history with me,” explained Fishkin. “That means I’m dealing with patients that are going through breast cancer and ovarian cancer on a regular basis. It’s just amazing how Sharsheret has come through for so many of my patients…I’ve been hearing over and over again about the impact that Sharsheret has had on them.”
And Sharsheret’s reputation hasn’t just followed Fishkin to his workplace; he has also heard positive feedback from users of his website GoDaven.com. “I’ve encountered many people who need minyanim for different life situations,” he said. “Those dealing with cancer look for a support system like Sharsheret.”
Fishkin has committed to raising $3600 for Sharsheret ahead of the marathon, and as of Tuesday afternoon, is at nearly $3400. Though he is close to his initial goal, Fishkin shared that he would “really like to exceed the goal,” in order to contribute as much as possible to the organization. “Whatever I can do to help is great.”
Now tapering his training ahead of the big race, Fishkin has been a little restless without his running routine, but is aware of the importance of resting up his body before a marathon. “Like everything else in life, you have to take it slow,” he explained. Fishkin added that this is of utmost importance for experienced runners and novices alike. “You can only add a little bit every week. You need to be mindful of your form and make sure not to do too much too quickly.”
Overall, Fishkin is feeling confident about the marathon. “Since I’ve never done this before, I’m looking forward to seeing how my body will handle it. My goal is simply to complete the race,” he shared, adding that he does have a specific pace in mind, but knows that finishing his first marathon will be a challenge in itself. “I don’t plan on stopping. I’m already thinking about running more marathons in the future.”
Help Dr. Fishkin reach his goal with Team Sharsheret before the marathon! Visit https://sharsheret-org.givecloud.co/fundraisers/yosi-joseph-fishkin.