Beatie Deutsch: The Orthodox Jewish mom who became Israel’s national marathon champion

Israeli marathon runner Beatie Deutsch

If you thought being an Orthodox Jewish mother of five would preclude you from pursuing a professional sports career, Beatie Deutsch is here to prove you wrong.

Deutsch started running only six years ago as a way to get back in shape after having children. With no experience in track and field, she never expected to have the chance to compete on an international stage for Israel. However, three years ago, she won her first national championship, and it’s been a steady climb to success ever since.

Deutsch grew up in an Orthodox community where opportunities for Jewish girls in sports were scarce. 

“I think what’s cool about my journey is that I grew up in a really Orthodox community where there were very few opportunities for Jewish girls in sport,” she said. “If you had told me as a 12-year-old or 15-year-old, ‘Beatie you’re gonna have a career as a runner,’ I would have laughed in your face. I would have said no way, that’s not possible.”

But Deutsch defied the odds and blazed her own trail in the sport.

Running is not just a passion for Deutsch but is also a tool for connecting people. She believes that running crosses all boundaries and barriers and can connect people in powerful ways. 

“I could run with anyone anywhere, and we’d feel perfectly comfortable together,” Deutsch said.

As with any successful journey, there have been challenges along the way. Deutsch acknowledges that there have been some dark moments, but she encourages people to push through and not give up. 

“Don’t let the challenges that stand in your way push you down. You have to be a fighter,” Deutsch said.

To remind herself of this, Deutsch’s running shoe has a mantra on it that says: “Hashem is with me every step of the way,” For Deutsch, this is a reminder that anything is possible if you believe in yourself.

Deutsch’s incredible career has been a boost to Israel’s running community. She is a three-time Israeli National Marathon Champion and is currently training for the Olympics and World Championships to represent Team Israel. Deutsch has won the Tiberias Marathon and the Jerusalem Marathon as well as the Israeli half-marathon.

Deutsch’s success in running has not gone unnoticed. She has been featured in various news outlets, including The New York Times, CNN and Runner’s World. In 2019, she ran her first international race, winning the Riga half marathon in just one hour, 17 minutes and 34 seconds.

Deutsch’s passion for running and Judaism has led her to share the beauty of her faith with the world. When she ran the Berlin marathon, she couldn’t help but think that it was the “greatest revenge on Hitler.” 

“As I was crossing the Brandenburg Gate I couldn’t just help but think…I’m like here — I am back strong, prouder than ever as a Jewish woman,” she recalled.

For Deutsch, living with the Torah in her life and sharing it with others is a mission and passion. She hopes to inspire other Jewish people to appreciate their faith and heritage, even those who don’t fully understand it.

“If I can just share a little bit of light and a little bit more positivity about Judaism that’s my passion. That’s my mission. That’s what I’m here for.”

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