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Daniel Jacob: JWA’s Marathon Man!

05 February 2018

Well done!daniel jacobs certificate

Daniel Jacob ran the London Marathon 2018 for JWA!
We are so delighted that Daniel Jacob ran the London Marathon this year in aid of Jewish Women’s Aid! 
Despite the very hot weather, Daniel completed in 4hrs 47 mins, and has raised £2300 so far. It’s not too late to give a donation for his amazing achievement, by going to his fundraising page here: Daniel’s JustGiving page

Daniel started training in January, and has written a training journal – see below, in reverse order, starting with his reflections on Sunday night after the run.

Our huge thanks to Daniel, for being such a mensch, such a joy to work with, and for becoming an amazing ally for JWA!


22/4 After the run

It was brutal. Waiting for the start at 9:30am in the morning you could tell the run was going to be tough and all thoughts of a personal best went straight out the window. Even then, I did not realise just how tough it was going to be.

I completed the first half in 2:07, so 13 minutes slower than planned. After that my energy just levels dropped like a stone, as the heat started to get the better of me. At mile 14 I started walking and could not see how I would be able to start running again. I also could not comprehend how I would be able to physically walk the remaining miles. The thought of quitting was lingering in the back of my mind, trying to force its way to the front.

It was at this point that something incredible happened. When people say there is nothing quite like the London Marathon, they really mean it. The support is just epic. Literally thousands of people cheering you on – calling your name – telling you that you are awesome and that you are doing an amazing thing. The marathon was without a shadow of a doubt the hardest thing I have ever done, but I did it with a massive amount of love and support, from family, friends and strangers. What I realised during that walk at mile 14 was that for some people, turning to Jewish Women’s Aid for help can be their toughest test. At a time when they need to find the depths of their resilience and fortitude – it is JWA who represents the crowd cheering them on, helping them meet the challenges they face and telling them they are awesome. Could I have completed the marathon without the crowd. Absolutely not. I hate to think how people who need JWA would be able to meet their challenge without the level of support JWA gives.

With the support of the crowd I spent the second half of the marathon switching between walking and jogging, finishing 47 minutes slower than I had planned for, but in the end I did not care one bit. It has been an honour to run for JWA and I would like to thank everyone who supported me.


16/4 Last blog before the big day!

So it’s been a while since the last blog. Training has been tough. Wind. Rain. Snow. Work. More snow……and now we are looking at the hottest April on record with a sunny and hot marathon weekend. How exactly was I supposed to train for that (see blog on failed warm weather training!)?

Make no mistake – it is going to be a tough run and the weather is bound to be a factor. Whilst I have been training with a target time in mind, in reality the heat will zap energy and it may be that finishing in a decent, but not record, time is as much of an accomplishment. Let’s see….

What else has changed? People still ask me whether I am the only “guy” running for JWA and questions along those lines. My answer to that question has changed over the last 10 weeks (as it happens I am the only JWA runner, so the answer is yes!).

When I started off I answered that question focusing on me and why I had the same questions (see first blog). As the months have gone on “I” and “me” have become increasingly irrelevant to the answer.

I tend to engage in some discussion. What institutions should be responsible for supporting the victims of domestic abuse?  Is this something just women should concern themselves with? Where should the funding come from?

In short, no-one disagrees with the cause, and following discussion about JWA, everyone I have spoken to agrees that it is a great charity to support. As a simple outsider it does however seem important to keep having that conversation. It is an issue that needs to be on the “agenda” to get heard.

It seems that people still need to challenge themselves to ask these questions. I hope that in running the marathon and engaging in this discussion both on and off-line, I have in a small way contributed to that ongoing dialogue.

Finally, does JWA need your money? Yes, it’s funding is almost exclusively via donations. My fundraising link is on this blog. However – just as importantly, it needs you to be part of the conversation. It needs your help to change perceptions. No hashtags. No gimmicks. Just recognition that this is a discussion worth engaging in.

Thank you all for your support.



26/2 Warm weather training: in Israel (plus essential cake….)

E Jerusalem

Last week I went to Israel for a spot of warm weather training – an essential part of all good training plans. Here’s how it went:

Night before flight: a friend gives me a hard time about missing out on my long run and makes me do 11 miles in the pouring rain. I don’t like long Saturday night runs – mainly as I Saturday is mostly made up of sitting and eating, so this was an uncomfortable necessity, but hey – warm weather training was about to start!

Day 1: Well, when on holiday with the family there needs to be a bit of sightseeing, so perhaps let’s leave the training until tomorrow.

Day 2: There were two issues on day 2. Rain and Waffles. Technically the rain shouldn’t have stopped me – but this was supposed to be warm weather so I felt entitled to wait for some. I thought I had left the rain in London! The waffles? Let’s just say they didn’t help.

F Jerusalem calories     G Cake eaten

Day 3: Friends are starting to notice my Strava running app showing very little activity, so with some carefully worded messages of “encouragement” I set off on Day 3. Running distances in a city you don’t know isn’t easy so I decided to stick to the tram lines so I would be able to find my way back. This was working well, except for the fact that I was slow. Not awful but noticeable. I knew it wasn’t the hills (and Kudos to anyone taking on the Jerusalem Marathon – boy that must be tough). It was something else. I cut things short and called it quits at 6 miles. Later that day I fell ill with what my wife describes as “just a cold”.

Days 4,5,6: Even if it was “just a cold” it was enough to knock me off my stride for the rest of the holiday with the only actual bonus being I ate less and therefore lost a bit of weight so there is a little less of me to carry round for those 26.2 miles in just over 8 weeks time …… 8 WEEKS TIME. ARRRGGGHHH. Cold is finally easing off and it is time to make some painful decisions around training. The next few weeks are going to be tough!

The good thing about all this is that not a week has gone by without me discussing JWA with someone new. Next week – I think it is time to pop over to JWA and see first hand some of the excellent work they are doing. More on that next time.

Thanks as ever for your support.



9/2  Climb every mountain: training at the Watford Half Marathon!

Watford Marathon collage

So last weekend I took on the Watford Half Marathon. I have run this before, in 2013 and again in 2016, so I knew what to expect, except, like those sleepless nights I used to have with the kids when they were younger, you somehow forget the bad bits. Watford is hilly. Not undulating. Not gentle. Steep, semi-brutal, hilly.

Training is one thing, but a race adds an edge. Alongside the physical endurance there is a mental side. Keeping up with the person next to you, not giving up on the hills, not worrying about being overtaken, wondering how you seem to overtake the same person about 4 times who has adopted a sprint/walk/sprint approach.

I set off fast – well fast for me – and thought I would see how long I could hold it. My personal best for a half is 1hr 49mins and 59 seconds (so technically under 1:50 and that whole second is pretty important to me!). However, that was quite a few years ago and on a much more forgiving course. By mile 4 I had given up hope of staying with the 1hr 50min pace runner and just hoped that if I kept him in sight, I may catch up….. at some point. Somewhere between mile 6 and 7 I was passed by a friend, who attempted to engage in conversation 20 meters from the top of the steepest climb. I think I grunted in response.

And then …… at mile 9 …. I was passed by the  1hr 50min pace runner …. which was odd as I thought I had lost him in the distance ….. except the one I was chasing started the race in a different group about a minute ahead of me, and the pacer from my pack was suddenly alongside me. GAME ON! I kept up, and used some of the down hills to get a little bit of distance and stay in front. With under 2 miles to go a marshall shouted, “Keep going, the 1:50 pacer is just behind you” and that was enough for me! A final push I finished in 1 hr 49mins and 44 seconds!


31/1 I’m going to need a new pair of shoes….. 

B Shoes

I first noticed it five years ago. A poster, hanging near the toilets of a kosher restaurant. Encouraging victims of domestic violence to take down a number, and get in touch for help. (I was impressed by the simplicity of the message and how it was delivered. I’ve since learned it’s usually hung somewhere discreet in ladies’ facilities. Not somewhere I frequent!)

It struck me how little we discuss this at a community level. Has it always been dealt with behind closed doors? Or simply not spoken about at all?

And while I don’t directly benefit from services of JWA, I know that my kids benefit from the school programme run by JWA, which educates young adults about what is appropriate and what is not. Empowering them to deal with difficult situations and teaching they don’t have to accept any form of abuse.

So why run for JWA? Actually most people wonder why run at all, but let’s put that to one side. JWA. A charity run by women for women. In case you hadn’t noticed I don’t fit the demographic.

So am I the person to help them champion their cause? Can I credibly promote this? I can hardly say I am part of the #metoo movement now can I?

Maybe I am overthinking this. I checked out what Lord Rabbi Sacks has to say about it (Click here to read it). And it made me realise I am asking myself the wrong questions.

The obstacles life throws in our paths are there for the community to take note of and address. Why should this just be someone else’s problem?

So I suppose I ought to talk about the running a bit. Mid January is pretty late to sign up to do the marathon. Well, by my standards it is. Most training programmes stretch across about 18 weeks. By the time  I’d signed up, I only had 15 left. It’ll be fine. Won’t it?

Things are not in awful shape. I’d already signed up for the Watford half marathon taking place In February, so had been doing some training, but this is on a whole other level.

First things first. Get a sports massage. Ok. I know, I know. That doesn’t sound very hard core, but the knees are going to take a battering so better make sure they work.

Next up. New pair of running shoes. I know. I know. Just go out and run, but what’s the point if I can’t get some new kit first.

Next. … ok, all out of excuses. Time to start getting the miles done.