Hi! My name is Josh Orlian, and I am returning for my third Team Yachad race in the NYC spring half marathon on my 19th birthday. The cancelation of the Jerusalem marathon will not stop me from running for inclusion.
I've been involved with Yachad since 2015, and have loved every moment of every shabbaton, event, and especially marathon. Yachad is my second family, and I would do anything to spread the message of inclusion, even if it means months of agonizing physical, and mental training.
About a month before I flew down to Miami for the 2019 marathon, I got a call saying that a friend of mine, Sammy Farakas Z"L, had passed away the day before his 16th birthday. I had been with Sammy two weeks previously in Miami while I was on vacation, and we got to talking about what was happening in our lives. I happened to have brought up that I was training for my first full marathon, and that I wanted to quit because I wasn't a runner, and it wasn't worth the pain. One of the last things I would ever hear my friend say was the following:
"Just keep running"
On January 27, 2019, I ran my first full length marathon. During the race, I had one thing on my mind: 26.2 For Sammy. Those words written on my chest and Sammy’s name on my heart.
Yachad is an incredible organization through which I share the mission to make those with mental and physical disabilities feel like they’re truly part of the group; we make sure we do things B’Yachad. That day on the course, Sammy and I ran B’Yachad.
In May of 2020, I intend to complete my second half marathon (adding up to 52.4 miles from my Yachad races), hand in hand for inclusion.