Memory of cousin keeps Benaim on the run to glory in Tel Aviv
ATHLETICS ISRAELI long distance runner Sagie Benaim returned home for a five kilometre cross-country race of deep personal significance.
The 17-year-old, who resides in Swiss Cottage, North West London, took part in a run entitled Merutz Eyal — the Race for Eyal — in memory of his late cousin Eyal Shmueli.
Eyal was the son of Zahava Shmueli, a distance runner who won several Israeli titles between the late 1970s and early 1990s. He was also a talented runner who achieved a marathon time of 3:07 under the guidance of Sagie’s mother, Mazal, who was also a several-times Israeli champion.
Mazal particularly remembers his dedication in training and his smiling disposition. Eyal collapsed and died at age 27 in June 2001, and his mother, Zahava, has organised the Merutz Eyal in his memory every year since then.
It is held close to Tel Aviv in Ramat Hasharon, a place where her son trained.
Benaim told JC Sport: “Merutz Eyal consists of two races: the 5K crosscountry that I ran, and a 15K race that is the official Israeli 15K Championship. There were in the region of 500 runners in the 5K, and more than a thousand in the 15K. In my race I came seventh overall, and I won my 17-19 age group.
“The hot conditions and sandy terrain made it quite a difficult race, but for me it was very important to fly to Israel to be there in memory of Eyal.
“Our whole family found it very difficult to cope with his loss, and we have set up a website recording his life up to his last evening.
“He had gone to a karaoke club with two friends; he was preparing to sing; he had a smile on his face. But suddenly he collapsed, and he died within the hour. For my family, the smile he had on his face when he fell told them that his death was that of an angel.”
Sam Dobin, a second year economics student at Trinity College Cambridge, has achieved a rare feat by setting a record of 42.77 seconds in the Trinity Great Court Run.
The race around the Cambridge Court, and specifically the attempt to complete it within the time taken for the college clock to chime 12, was made famous by a fictional episode in the film, Chariots of Fire.
Only Lord David Burghley and Sebastian Coe had ever previously achieved the feat. Lord Coe congratulated Mr Dobin on a “fantastic and very rare achievement”, while Dobin said: “It’s really motivating — it’s inspired me to go from here to 2012.”
Sagie (right) with Zehava Shmueli