In rain, sleet, snow or hail, 28-year-old Shlomo Fishman is at the running track. For him, running is a way to set goals for himself. The Kemp Mill resident is also a recreational therapist.
How did you get into running?
I grew up riding my bike a lot. And in high school, I started running as part of a crew team. We were the first year of a trial program. We started running to get in shape [and] I continued running.
And I studied [in Israel]. I ran because it was a cheap and easy way to stay
active and see the places. When I moved back to the states in 2012, I joined
Can you tell me more about these running groups?
They’re great communities. I have good communities at Montgomery County Road Runners Club and the Dojo of Pain.
We meet up for workouts, go on long runs together. We’re like-minded
individuals pursuing a healthy lifestyle. We have a wide variety of people from
different backgrounds — everyone from attorneys to doctors to myself.
I think it’s a great way to have a community outside your own physical community to bring people together. We also sometimes get together during the holiday season. And when there are races, we all race together and see how far we can push each other and become better competitors and better people.
How often do you compete?
It varies from running a mile race to running a marathon.
What are your goals?
Primarily, my goal is to get faster during the marathon. So what I do is I run many shorter races to get myself ready. Both physically and to work on
I did my first official [marathon] in Philadelphia in 2012. I kind of traversed backwards. Many people start with shorter distances and progress into marathons. I just jumped into the marathon.
But my goals over time have really changed a tremendous amount. This
really goes hand in hand with what I do I as a recreational therapist. The reason why I run is to improve myself as a runner and improve myself as a person.
So right now, I’d like to break two hours and 35 minutes in a marathon.
Can you explain what a recreational therapist does?
As a recreational therapist, I can help people in many domains: fine motor and gross motor [skills] and recreational activities. So, it’s a holistic approach.
Recreational therapists work in many different fields: everything from pediatric
rehab hospitals to helping patients recover from an injury.
The idea is to give everyone an opportunity to participate in recreation and we make goals around that. For example, somebody who enjoyed bike riding and got into a car accident and is unable to ride anymore, [I would] help find things that are equivalent to it.
Do ever find it difficult to be shomer Shabbat and a competitive runner?
Sometimes. But there are so many races on Sundays now. So just to accept it for what it is. And if there are races on Saturdays, I know there are other races on Sundays.
I typically have a six-day run week. There’s much research to show that
taking a day off is healthy, and Shabbat allows for a built-in rest day, So I just take Saturdays off from running.
I think it’s made me a stronger person spiritually and physically. WJW
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