If you asked Ali Ditlove in 2008 how many miles are in a marathon, she probably would have been stumped. Today, she is the face behind Beit T’Shuvah’s Run to Save a Soul campaign at the LA Marathon for three years running. Her title? Marathon Concierge.
When Ali tells her story, she clearly and vividly describes the details of her life growing up in Beverly Hills, the first time she started experimenting with drugs, and the moment she ended up in jail. Though she was a student at UCLA studying sociology, fate had other plans—it would take her down the road of addiction and substance abuse before it would return her to her curiosity and love for people.
Ali first came to Beit T’Shuvah in 2006, when, like so many before her, she didn’t let it sink in. For her second residency, Ali was sentenced to Beit T’Shuvah as an alternative to prison in 2009. Not long after Ali’s second induction, the Development Department here began looking for a new assistant, and Ali jumped at the chance.
She recalls the day when her boss and Director of Development Nina Haller had the idea that running a marathon would be an incredibly uplifting experience for residents and supporters in their recovery. With the help of Ali, Beit T’Shuvah has successfully participated in the LA marathon for three years now. The first year had only a dozen committed runners. This year, the 2011 LA Marathon is expected to have 60 runners representing recovery, proudly wearing t-shirts stamped with the words “Beit T’Shuvah.”
Ali’s role as the official Marathon Concierge is to organize weekly trainings with our personal coaches, motivate and inspire the runners, help them with their personal fundraising efforts, and communicate with every member of our team to make sure everyone knows what is expected of them and feels comfortable in the process.
When we ask Ali what her favorite part of the LA marathon is, she enthusiastically replies, “I love getting on Facebook on Sunday afternoon and seeing all my runners post about their run, their accomplishments, the way they feel. I love having people come in here so afraid of a fundraising the minimum of $1,000, and then go blow it out of the water in a month!”
People often ask Ali why she doesn’t run. She takes the opportunity here to explain: “I need to stress the commitment and nonstop hard work that people are putting into this process. In order to be able to properly assist them with this huge undertaking, I have to be constantly available, all-knowing, on top of things, ready, willing, and able to facilitate that experience that Beit T’Shuvah wants its runners to have. And since I see both sides, I see what my runners go through and know what I go through on the ‘Concierge’ side. I have not yet found a way that I can balance both. Maybe I will join the team one day. But right now, my focus is to keep them focused.”
For more information about all things Marathon, contact Ali at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check our runners out on our crowdrise page!
Now, Run Baby, Run!