The uncle of a survivor of the Supernova music festival massacre has run the equivalent of 27 marathons since November to highlight the plight of the remaining hostages in Gaza and raise money for Magen David Adom.
James Sorene, a running coach and senior civil servant, has accrued an incredible 1126km, averaging 13km a day, since deciding to take on the intense challenge, with each daily run dedicated to a Hamas hostage.
Sorene’s nephew Ariel narrowly escaped the Nova Music festival, his cousin Jake Marlowe was killed and his brother’s friend Shlomi Ziv is still being held hostage in Gaza.
He tells Jewish News he was “distraught at the detailed revelations of what occurred on that day and felt almost guilty going about my normal life. I thought a lot about the hostages, where they were being held and how they were being treated. Running is a part of my life, I usually run 2-3 times a week. But running is about freedom, having the freedom to travel over long distances.”
He adds that “one morning I was on a run thinking about 7 October and how the hostages can’t go anywhere or do anything, held captive fearing for their lives, and here I was running around. So I had this idea to run 6 days a week to raise money for Magen David Adom, the Israeli ambulance service, and dedicate every run to a hostage.”
He describes the experience as “like a long silent protest, to remind the world they are still there and to send a message on social media with their photo every day, for their loved ones to see that they are not alone, that there are people thinking of them, every day.”
Sorene has been running since 5 November, and says it’s “hard work, no matter how fit you are”. As a qualified running coach, and running at least 13km daily he says so far he’s had no issues, no blisters and no aches and pains.
His local route is a 13km loop from Woodside Park up to Mill Hill village and back which he admits has “three quite serious hills, that can be extended to Copthall into a 24km run”.
Additionally, a couple of days a week he cycles to work in Whitehall and then does a 13km or 15km loop round St James Park, Green Park and Hyde Park which he describes as “one of the most beautiful routes in London.”
But, he adds, “the rule is I run wherever I am. Last week I was in Darlington for work and found a 14km trail run along the River Tees which was a lot of fun in the dark and sub zero temperatures.”
Explaining how he maintains his motivation on a daily basis, especially on freezing mornings, Sorene says that “running for a cause is great motivation but the secret to endurance running is consistency and iron discipline. When the alarm goes at 5am, there is no get out clause, I get up and get ready to run with the same routine – espresso, porridge and go. And I know no matter how cold or wet or windy it is, once I am out there it will be fine, I just put one foot in front of the other and keep moving.”
He tells Jewish News he’s had “so many lovely messages, sponsorship from people I haven’t seen for years and complete strangers. I’ve had amazing messages from hostage families and their friends after I have dedicated a run to them. That has been inspiring and heartbreaking all at once. The work those families have done around the world at events and in media interviews is incredible, their mental strength is remarkable.”
Having raised £3500, his main target is now to reach £10,000. To support James, click here.
- James Sorene, communications director at the department of energy.
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