At 50, she’s training for Jerusalem Marathon, for three causes

Tendinitis and hamstring issues haven’t stopped Tanya Mazor-Posner.

The pain of hitting the runners’ proverbial “wall” is excruciating but not goal-ending for her.

Tanya Mazor-Posner crossing the finish line of the September 2019 Lakefront Marathon.

Seeing the disbelief on the faces of family and friends and hearing the “Are you crazy?” remarks have not discouraged her from that goal, which is running in the Jerusalem Marathon on March 20 and raising $50,000 to be split among three groups in honor of her 50th birthday last year.

Some women would choose a spa day for their birthday; Mazor-Posner has chosen to run … and run … and run until she needs to “psyche my body to overcome the pain” of the last few miles.

“When I first began training in November of 2018, I could barely run two miles without huffing and puffing,” said Mazor-Posner, whose 50 for 50 Campaign will benefit Ovation Communities, Bader Hillel Academy and Friends of the IDF.

Raising the money would seem easier for the professional fundraiser than running 26.2 miles for someone who, before this campaign, “was out of shape, not eating right and had never exercised to much of any extent.”

She has been trained by her husband’s colleague who has run more than 12 marathons. She generally runs alone, listening to music, five days a week – never on Shabbat  – and prefers running outdoors. Bad weather sends her to indoor tracks at a local YMCA and the Pettit Center, but only if there’s ice, too much snow or the temperature is above 85 or below 28. She has special shoes that help her run in snow.

Coincidentally, she has lost 50 pounds since 50 for 50 training began.

It was on her 48th birthday that she began thinking about running a marathon, and off she went. “I am not into celebrating birthdays, but I wanted to make my 50th memorable while giving back to other people,” she said. “I wanted to do something challenging. Some people jump out of airplanes; I wanted to run a marathon. And I want to set an example for my kids. I want them to understand the importance of giving back.”

Tanya Mazor-Posner’s daughters, Ellie (left) and Shir, hold a sign to greet their mother at the finish line of the 2019 Lakefront Marathon.

She and husband Chanan have three active children: Benji, 17, a basketball player; Ellie, 15, a gymnast; and Shir, who loves to dance, is a musician and will become a bat mitzvah in March as she turns 12.

Her support of Ovation Communities and Bader Hillel comes naturally – she is vice president of development for the Ovation Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation that seeks to ensure that Milwaukee’s seniors have a warm home, and is co-president of the Bader Hillel board of directors.

Her passion to help the Israel Defense Forces, specifically the Lone Soldiers program, comes from her desire to honor her father. Benjamin Mazor, a Holocaust survivor, received an Israel Defense Forces medal for jumping into enemy territory during the Sinai-Suez campaign. He was raised in an orphanage in Israel.

Lone soldiers could be new immigrants, volunteers from abroad, an orphan or an individual from a broken home who have no family in Israel to support them. There are approximately 7,000 lone soldiers serving in the IDF.

She completed the Lakefront Marathon last year. “I had no intention of finishing it; I did it to see what it was like,” she said. “I felt completely fatigued at mile 23, but I pushed through and did it.” She was greeted at the finish line by her daughters holding a sign that read, “Some people go the extra mile, but my mom goes the extra 26.2.”

Mazor-Posner, who was born in Pennsylvania and raised in New York, has dual citizenship with Israel. She chose the marathon in Jerusalem for her 50 for 50 Campaign because “it is the holiest place on earth.” But the course is hilly, which is why part of her training involves running up local hills.

“I know what the course is like and it won’t be easy,” she said. She doesn’t have a finishing time as a goal. “Are you kidding? I just want to finish,” she said.

Her son, who will be in Israel with his high school class at the time of the marathon, will be on hand to cheer for her.

She’ll get further motivation from the picture her daughter Shir drew. The drawing includes the words, “You did amazing,” and depicts Tanya running with tears on her face.

Shir said they are tears of joy.

How to Donate

Tanya Mazor-Posner’s 50 for 50 Campaign seeks to raise $50,000 to honor her 50th birthday. Money raised will be split between Ovation Communities, Bader Hillel Academy and the Israel Defense Forces Lone Soldier program. She also will be auctioning a painting by a local artist.

None of the donations will be used to fund her travel to run in the Jerusalem Marathon.

“That’s all on me,” she said, adding that donations have come in from across the U.S. and from England, Israel and Japan.

To donate and for more information on the three organizations that will benefit, go to Ovation.org/foundation/50_for_50.