‘Incredible experience’ to complete his NYC Marathon: Montrealer raised $7,547 for Holocaust survivors

Sporting his medal, Montreal student Sam Tenenbaum is seen at the finish line for Sunday's New York City Marathon, where he raised over $7,500 for needy Holocaust survivors. (Submitted photo).

It took him four hours and 28 minutes and 25 seconds to complete Sunday’s New York City Marathon, but Canadian student Sam Tenenbaum crossed the finish line having reached far beyond his original goals.

Not only did he finish the gruelling 42-kilometre race through New York streets more than half an hour sooner than he had expected to, but donations to his Team Blue Card fundraising goal came in double what he had hoped.

“It was such an incredible experience that I will never forget,” wrote Tenenbaum, 22, in a message to The CJN late Sunday afternoon, from New York.

The grandson of a Holocaust survivor, Tenenbaum chose to run as part of an American charity team which supports needy U.S. survivors who live below the poverty line. While his original fundraising goal was $3,400 before he left Montreal for New York last week, by day’s end Sunday, his total had more than doubled to $7,547.

Some 30,000 racers took part in the 50th NYC Marathon, which was postponed from 2020 due to COVID-19. While the top Canadian finisher, former Olympian Lanni Marchant of London, Ontario, crossed the finish line in 11th place with a time of 2:32:54, Tenenbaum thought he would need five hours to do it. He was pleased with the speedier pace of his first-ever marathon.

“It truly feels like every sacrifice paid off the moment you cross that finish line,” he said.

With a friend cheering him on, Tenenbaum began his race at 11 a.m. He had trained for the race together with another Jewish Canadian, Brandon Rudie, from Dollard-Des-Ormeaux. Rudie, 19, finished in 5:31:49 and raised $3,400.

After crossing the finish line, a race official congratulated Tenenbaum and asked him “How ’bout I give you a medal, man?”. To which the tired Montrealer replied “Please!” and then posed with for a souvenir photo, showing him biting the medal for good measure.

“It was such an incredible experience that I will never forget,” Tenenbaum said, while sporting strips of dark athletic tape supporting his left knee. “The ups and downs throughout the run make it extremely challenging mentally, despite the physical pain you are enduring.”

The Westmount native is in his final year at university in Montreal, but has already attracted attention in local art circles with his company, Bidgala, created during the pandemic, with friend William Lande. The online marketplace matches emerging artists with art buyers, without having to visit physical art galleries.