More than 200 athletes from the tri-state area participated in the first triathlon hosted by the Orthodox Union’s Yachad at the American Dream mall in East Rutherford. It was held to raise awareness and funds for the group’s IVDU school network, the formal educational arm of the leading organization for Jewish individuals with disabilities.
The professionally designed triathlon course included a distance run through the mall mapped out by Dan Brennan, the official course measurer for the New York City Marathon. The biking element was on stationary bikes, and the swim component was in the mall’s DreamWorks Water Park. Timing was tracked by the Barwick Group.
“Every year our students look forward and train to join our annual marathon team,” Rabbi Michoel Druin, IVDU’s head of school, said. “It prepares them with valuable life skills, keeps them physically active, and rewards them both with a sense of internal satisfaction and the feeling of comradery that simply couldn’t be recreated without a similar experience.
“With the pandemic’s impact cancelling many marathons and similar events, our admin team came together and recreated so much of the experience the marathon team normally generates, and the end result was a phenomenal event for our students and friends.”
For the last decade, IVDU’s students have gained critical life lessons, like teamwork, dedication, commitment, and discipline from joining together and participating in marathons.
The Marilyn and Sheldon David IVDU Boys and Girls Upper Schools, both in Brooklyn, are for Orthodox Jews with disabilities. Encouraged by warm and caring staff, the students learn they can thrive despite their challenges and develop new skills and friendships that will help them be successful in life during and after high school. For more information, go to ou.org.