Yimharan Yosef led Team ORT’s London Marathon performance with an astonishing 2hr 29min finish, placing him 69th out of the 42,000 amateur runners.
The ORT runners were taking part to raise funds for the global education network’s youth village in Kfar Silver, near Ashkelon, with the intention of raising £30,000 to restructure the athletics program.
Yimharan took up running at 13 and found it “life-changing”. He works part-time at the village as an athletics coach because he wants to “create such a change among the children of Kfar Silver”.
Elsewhere in the team, which raised money through ORT UK, Avi Ganon, World ORT CEO and Director General, finished in 4:31:36. A semi-seasoned marathon runner, he said running the streets of London had been “the experience of a lifetime”.
“It was a very good run. Not for the time, but to do this at all: it’s the best marathon I’ve ever done in terms of the atmosphere. It was a really nice crowd – incomparable to marathons in Israel.”
Lior Tirosh completed the course in 2:43:53 and said: “Running the marathon today was an amazing experience. I hope I helped in collecting donations for your truly important cause.”
Dan Rickman, ORT UK Chief Executive, said: “These funds will help us rejuvenate the Kfar Silver athletics program, hopefully with a new running track, a renovated gym and changing rooms, as well as new equipment.
“Thanks to the London Marathon runners, a new generation of ORT students will have their potential unleashed and look to the future as possible Israeli professional athletes.”
Double Olympic champion Seb Coe had backed Team ORT’s marathon efforts when he met Avi Ganon ahead of the race.
Lord Coe, who won gold for Britain in the 1,500 metres at the 1980 and 1984 Olympics, discussed training techniques and marathon experience with Mr Ganon.
The current president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) also commented on Israel’s current and former athletics programs and his own work with the Israeli Athletic Association.