On 24th June our dedicated (and perhaps crazy) team are stepping up to support The Together Plan by taking part in the Maccabi Fun Run. Together we’ll run, walk, hop, skip and dance through a distance of 10km, 5km or 1km (or all three!) in support of communities in the former Soviet Union.
The Together Plan works to revive community in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, currently focusing on Belarus. Through close partnership with our communities we help them to grow, connect and become self-sufficient, giving vulnerable and isolated people control over their lives. Our humanitarian aid project annually distributes over 20 tonnes of vital supplies to more than 10,000 people throughout Belarus.
Meet Our Runners
Click on the photos to find out more about us or to sponsor an individual runner.
Middle aged teacher/tutor of Drama and English who likes to keep as fit as possible in preparation for events such as these. Happy to a support charity in any way I can and as I’m not singing at the moment, will have to utilise an alternative part of the anatomy to fundraise.
I am an ardent Liverpool FC fan, and Boots Optician in Cockfosters so between the day job and the football there is little time for training walks. But as a fellow BNI member with Debra Brunner – I decided it was time to step up and out for a charity that supports the isolated and vulnerable, community development and revives Jewish life in the town my family came from! Please support this determined, passionate and transparent charity doing really great work.
Some of you will know that I’m a fan of power walking and Belarus, and several years ago I combined those loves and walked 4 marathons in one week in support of communities and individuals in need! Crazy, yes, but the pain and the blisters was worth the effort and the support raised contributed towards the growth of community programmes in the former Soviet Union that would otherwise never have happened. So to continue and develop the work that has now been started, we are getting out in force on June 24th to garner support for the next phase of developments. I hate running, have never been a runner, and don’t know how! But we have to step up, right? New challenges, new horizons, new mindset!! So this is a first. Please get behind me and The Together Plan Team in this new challenge (and my first ever 5K run) – I for one am going to need all the support I can get!! Thanks for all the belief!!
I’m a hardworking determined guy who likes to challenge himself. Running has always been a sort of meditation and it’s one my favourite things to do to relax and unwind. This will be my second Maccabe fun run and I’m looking forward to raising more more for the together plan and to take part in such a great event.
I’m Martin Carroll and I’m 36 years old. I’m a professional fitness trainer and boxing coach. I’m passionate about health, fitness, food, and helping others do what they think they can’t. I’m raising money for The Together Plan because I recognise I am blessed to be healthy and happy and therefore I want to give back to those less fortunate than myself.
I am stepping out to do the Maccabi Fun Run to support the fantastic work of The Together Plan. I fully recognise the dedication and hard work that is going into growing this small and impactful charity, bringing positive change to the lives of other people and I am glad to do my small bit to help.
This 10K run will be my first ever charity run. Having seen first hand the work of The Together plan in Belarus I cant think of a better cause to ease myself into charity running. It was early 2017 when I started jogging and only a couple of times a month for a while. It was the summer months when I mapped out a local 5k route that I’d run more regularly, often ramping it up to 10K. It’s enjoyable in a brutal way sometimes! At the start of 2018 I tried Park Run which has given me the experience of running with others whose mere presence around me is motivation to run quicker. Running this 10K for the Together Plan will be an honour.
I work at Alyth Synagogue as Head of Music & Arts. I grew up in Dublin, Ireland and was completely uninterested in sports and keeping fit at school. However in 2016 I caught the running bug and went on to complete the London Marathon in April 2017, raising over £3000 for The Stroke Association in the process. My love of running has continued since my first marathon and I have now completed 3 half marathons and numerous 10Ks and am about to run my second marathon in Manchester. I’m looking forward to taking part in the Maccabi GB Community Fun Run 10K in June and raising lots of money for The Together Plan.
I’m Chief Pharmacist of a NHS Trust in Surrey and in my spare time I’m Chairman and Warden at Sutton Synagogue. I’ve run a couple of 10k events before but not for a couple of years, so I’m going Couch to 10k in about the time the NHS says Couch to 5k! When I told Debra that I was going to run the Maccabi event, she suggested a Brunner- Heller joint venture – so here I am, preparing to run 10k and raising some money for the Together Plan.
I’m doing a 5k walk with my father Simon Kaplinsky. Your support will help raise funds for the very early stages of his plans to restore a synagogue in Belarus. We are both agnostic, this is not about religion. It’s about making the history and cultures Jews in Eastern Europe valued and visible to generations growing up in the shadow of the Holocaust and Soviet communism.
Background: My father’s family are from Slonim, in Belarus, a small town that was a Shtetl. Jewish culture flourished and had relative autonomy there between the 16th and mid 19th century. Today when you google Slonin the first suggested search that comes up is ‘Slonim massacre’. Despite this, these events, as well as the history of Jews is mostly hidden from view in the country itself, only recently being illuminated by the wonderful historian and curator Tamara Vershitskaya. She established the Museum of Jewish resistance and was the tour guide for our family’s visit in 2016. I grew up with stories of my grandfather (who i didn’t ever meet) waking up each morning, one day a Russian citizen, the next day a Pole. As a young boy he was kidnapped by the Russian army and had to dress as a girl to escape back to his family. So, as it goes my grandfather managed to leave Belarus and ended up in Cape Town (where my father was born), whilst his siblings had awful traumatic experiences which cannot be recounted here. His parents perished in a fire in the synagogue. That grand Baroque building built between 1635–42 has been left to crumble ever since the fire. From a recent report it has been identified as number 2 on the list of ruined synagogues of historical and cultural interest in Eastern Europe and so we are hoping to capitalise on this and begin plans to restore it. We hope that it might become a centre to discuss and share the richness of Jewish culture in the region over the 400 years they were settled there.
Once an average but enthusiastic sportsman I now have to make allowances for age and poor knee joints. I will do the 5k walk enthusiastically, but most likely slower than the everyone else. I am fundraising to support our exciting project to renovate the Great Synagogue in Slonim, the town where my father was born.
Though intermittently an enthusiastic runner, I will do the 5k walk together with my partner Helen Kaplinsky and her dad Simon Kaplinsky. They are working on a project to restore a synagogue in Belarus, in a town called Slonim. It is a place with a connection to their family and a very tragic story to it. The 17th century synagogue, once a centre for lively and autonomous Jewish minority, has been in ruins since the second world war. With my walk I wish to give a small contribution towards these efforts to restore the synagogue to be a place for remembering Jewish life in the region.
My name is Josh Leitner and at the age of 47 I took up running last year for the first time. I will be running (along with my trainer), on my fourth ever 10k. Really proud to be representing and competing on behalf Debra Brunner and her Together Plan Charity, doing such amazing work with communities in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. My first target is of course to actually complete the race and then really anything below 60 minutes will be a massive bonus.
Five years ago my husband, son and I were lucky enough to go on a trip to Belarus with a group of families from our community in Finchley, all who had children going through the Bar Mitzvah programme. I was struck by the kindness and sense of community growing in Polotsk thanks to the work of the charity – here we met a fantastic group of people who were unaware of their heritage but desperate to learn and become part of a real community with tradition and substance. I was brought up not knowing where exactly my great-great-grandparents came from, but I realised then how similar our backgrounds were likely to be and felt a connection. A few years later I did a DNA ancestry test and discovered my DNA is 97% Eastern European, pinpointed around Belarus, Russia and Poland. So the saying ‘Their people are my people’ is really true. This is why I am supporting the great work The Together Plan do in bringing back Jewish community and culture to areas who sadly lost their history in horrific times.