Is it possible that an observant Jewish mother of five is at the top of the Israeli running world and attempting to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics?
Well, when it comes to Bracha “Beatie” Deutsch, anything is on the table.
The 30-year-old runner made aliyah from Washington, DC in 2009, making her home in the ultra-Orthodox Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem.
“Speedy Beatie” only began running in 2015 as a desperate move to get back into shape. After having four children in six years, Deutsch – who in the spirit of modesty dons a head covering, skirt and long-sleeve shirt when she runs – needed to find time to consistently exercise. Training for a marathon was the way she was going to do exactly that.
The 1.5 m. (4’11”) Deutsch ran her first marathon, the full 42.195 km. in Tel Aviv, and finished a surprising sixth place with a time of 3:27:26. A year later, she ran the Tel Aviv Marathon again, but this time she was seven months pregnant. If the running world hadn’t noticed Deutsch after 2016, they definitely did following her second full marathon, when she finished in 4:08.16 – seven weeks before giving birth.
The first-placed Israeli woman at the 2018 Jerusalem Marathon (in 3:09:50, setting a course record for Israeli female runners), Deutsch followed with golds in Beit She’an (half-marathon in 1:19:53), Tiberias (full marathon in 2:42.18, the fifth best result of all time for female Israeli runners) and the 2019 half-marathon in Tel Aviv, where she was feted as a national hero and treated as a true blue-and-white celebrity. In her first international test, Deutsch took first place with a 1:17.34 time in May’s half-marathon in Riga, Latvia, leaving her mark beyond the borders of Israel.
Not only has Deutsch opened the eyes of the Israeli public with her running, but she is a role model for many observant women from around the world. Deutsch – who through sport raises awareness for Beit Daniella, a rehabilitation facility for adolescents with psychiatric disorders – hopes to represent Israel at next summer’s Olympics, and has broken down barriers within her community as she continues to inspire many to go for the gold in every facet of life.