By Jaron Zanerhaft
Driving from the transition zone to the block party presented the greatest challenge yet. With a good portion of major streets closed, we had a couple of options: backtrack to the highway or brave the backstreets. So we went off to navigate the Hollywood hills, and we were almost successful. Ultimately, the 101 called our name. Tired and tense, we pulled up next to a curb on Selby, just south of Santa Monica Boulevard at Mile 19 of 26.2. It was the perfect location to give our runners the extra jolt and motivation they needed to keep on running.
By the time my crew and I arrived, the party was in full swing. The sun was just dipping into the afternoon, clusters of friends spread along the entire block, and up on stage Cantor Rachel rocked out with a killer band.
I hadn’t eaten since before Dodger Stadium and found myself immensely grateful for the wonderful spread of bagels, baked goods, and other Jewish food. I allowed myself to do some extra reporting at these tables. Walking back towards the stage, I saw Luke walking around with a microphone, announcing runners who were coming our way.
I was most impressed by how the welcoming arms of the Beit T’Shuvah block party brought encouragement to runners of all sorts. More and more student runners passed, along with wheelchair racers, Kenyans, and even an older gentleman in a Spiderman costume. Anytime a blue shirt came into view, the crowd excitedly leaned forward to recognize one of their own. Embraces and showers of praise fell on the Beit T’Shuvah team while inaudible murmurs of “Residents: Get out of the street!” came over the PA.
Worth mentioning, the port-a-potties were the classiest I’ve seen, with carpeting and modernized mechanisms. I also must say, I enjoyed the unique DJ stylings of Joseph Trop-Zell. I found the other members of my office, the ones who weren’t in the middle of an assignment but just out to support the team. I shared my story so far with them and felt the burden of the exhausting morning lift off of my back. I was ready for one more stop.
A couple of hours later, I found myself in the passenger seat of John Sullivan’s car heading for the finish line.