76-Year-Old Rabbi to Run His 36th NY Marathon

It isn’t every day a rabbi ordained by the late Rabbi Moshe Feinstein runs the New York City marathon – but it is every year.

Ezra HaLevi , | updated: 9:53 PM

On November 5th, 76-year-old Rabbi Dr. Eliezer (Leon) Ehrenpreis (pictured above) will run his 36th New York City marathon.

Since his first 26-mile run in 1970, Ehrenpreis has never missed the marathon, despite a broken arm one year and a baby’s due date another. He plans to run again this year.

The New York City marathon has become a global phenomenon, attracting over 35,000 runners and two million spectators. The 2006 race, however, bears little resemblance to the 1970 marathon, in which no streets were closed to traffic and no barricades lined Central Park.

“When I first ran the marathon, there were very few runners or spectators, and it was like ‘old home week,’” Rabbi Ehrenpreis recalls. “Everyone knew everyone else and it was like a family party. Now it’s a huge race with media coverage, people fighting to get in, and police protection. But, on the flip side - the enthusiasm and excitement in New York is now incredible. People who don’t know me hear my wife and children calling my name and cheer along with them.”

A renowned Torah scholar and mathematician, Ehrenpreis was ordained and remained an advisor on mathematic and scientific issues to Rabbi Feinstein until the famed authority on Jewish law passed away in 1986.

He has taught mathematics at New York University, Princeton, Harvard, University of California at Berkeley and Yale Universities in the United States. He as also taught at both Hebrew University and Bar-Ilan in Israel, the Sorbonne in France and Kyoto University in Japan. Ehrenpreis is currently a tenured professor at Temple University in Philidelphia.

“I spend most of my time doing research, and I find that I can train without wasting time,” Ehrenpreis says. “I think about math while I’m running.”