By Corey Kilgannon, New York Times
When watching the New York City Marathon this Sunday, consider the plight of the kosher marathoner, who because of Jewish dietary laws may not replenish himself with sports drinks that lack kosher certification.
“The average runner can grab a cup of Gatorade anywhere along the race course, but we have to plan ahead, to have people meet us at certain points with kosher-certified drinks,” said Dovid Yehoshua Schachner, a former schoolteacher in Queens and an orthodox Jew who has run three marathons and is running on Sunday.
According to Gatorade’s Web site, the drink lacks kosher certification. This was a cause of concern for Zev Wineberg, a Hasidic rabbi who lives and runs a Jewish center on Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City, Queens.
Rabbi Wineberg is an occasional runner who dreams of one day running the marathon. For now, however, his involvement extends to cheering the marathoners as they run past his building on Vernon Boulevard, near 48th Street — and offering kosher sports drinks to runners.
“There is no kosher certification for Gatorade, and I felt that kosher runners should have something to drink besides water,” he said.
So the rabbi bought cases of Powerade, a sports drink that is kosher-certified, and said he will offer it to “anyone who wants it, but specifically to runners who are strictly observant.”
“We want to support their physical and spiritual well-being,” he said.
Rabbi Wineberg estimated that there were perhaps “several hundred” runners in the marathon who observe kosher regulations. Many gather in groups at the starting line for morning prayer.