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Orthodox Jewish mom-of-five follows her faith while winning marathons

BEATIE DEUTSCH

marathonmother | Instagram | Fair Use

Cerith Gardiner - published on 06/21/21

The inspirational Beatie Deutsch put aside her Olympic dreams to respect the Sabbath.

Beatie Deutsch is a diminutive woman with a big message to share. Standing at four foot eleven, the mom-of-five is also known as the “Marathon Mother.” With some impressive wins to her name, Deutsch is not only empowering moms everywhere to follow their dreams, she’s showing the world what a sporty mom-of-many can do while still respecting — and celebrating — her faith.

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A post shared by Beatie Deutsch (@marathonmother)

The ultra-Orthodox Jewish mom, originally from Passaic, was known for her athletic skills when she was young. In fact, she earned the nickname “Speedie Beatie” as a child. Yet, after settling into her married life in Israel with her husband Michael, a Judaic studies teacher, and raising her family while working for a non-profit full-time, her sporting prowess fell by the wayside.

It was during a family run five years ago, where Deutsch positioned last, that she decided enough was enough. She pulled on her sneakers and started running. Incredibly, she’d wake up at 5 a.m. to go for a 12 mile run, followed by a swim, then back home to look after the kids.

As she improved her pace, Deutsch found her times reaching some pretty impressive records. When she competed in a marathon in Israel in 2019, she knocked three minutes off the Olympic qualifying time, coming in at 2:42:18.

This is just one of a myriad of her impressive performances. When she was seven months pregnant with her fifth child she came second in a race. She came first when competing in the 2018 Jerusalem Marathon, and in 2019 she won Israel’s National Championship.

And all the while she ran respecting her religious beliefs of dressing modestly. While other athletes tend to streamline their sportswear to gain speed, Deutsch chose to wear a head covering and knee-length skirt, which could easily have been seen as an impediment to her performance.

Yet, this decision encouraged Adidas to endorse the athlete and make her the face of an ad campaign, “Impossible Is Nothing” that also features other culturally diverse athletes.

In her ad she declares, “Where some see an Orthodox runner, I see my belief pushing me forward.” And as Deutsch points out when discussing how she combines her running while also respecting her faith: “Dressing modestly reminds me that my strength is not my own,” as reported in App.com.

However, her faith has created a few difficulties in her running ambitions. She was all set to run in the marathon at the Japanese Olympics last year when COVID-19 forced the games to be postponed for another year. Then, when the marathon was planned for the Sabbath this year, she felt she’d been “punched in the stomach.”

There was no way she could take part in a race on a religious day that was set aside for reflection and prayer, and that allowed for no training or competing. Although Deutsch’s attorney tried to lobby the International Olympic Committee to change the date of the race, her request was refused. So, Deutsch had to set aside her sporting dreams to follow her faith.

However, her plight has raised awareness about athletes wanting to practice their faith and a compete in prestigious competitions. She’s one of many athletes who are determined to bring their faith into their sporting life, and already some changes have been made at an international level, particularly concerning modest sportswear.

Thankfully, the Marathon Mother is not about to give up. Despite some setbacks in recent performances, she’s determined to make it to the Olympics in Paris, 2024. And she is happy to share her story and her faith online with her thousands of followers who can only be inspired at how this mighty athlete can champion motherhood and her faith in such a positive manner. As she shared online:

“If there’s anything I’ve learned from running, it is to stand strong and stay positive, to drown out the voices of self-defeat and hold onto faith. I want to make the most of this one precious life that I was given.”

To read the full report on Deutsch and her impressive athletic journey on App.com, click here. She also has a strong Instagram presence as a “Proud Jewish Momma & Ambassador of Hashem (God)” where she shares her stories of her faith and her running.

If you’d like to discover some golfing heroes whose faith is paramount in their sporting lives, click on the slideshow below.

Tags:
FaithMotherhoodSports
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