We’ve been in touch with Jared all this time and here we are, the day has (almost) come. Before coming to Belarus, the 44-year-old bought a new pair of sneakers to set off his run of a lifetime.
Starting in Minsk on Saturday, 10 August, he plans to cover a 230 km route from Minsk to Kažan-Haradok, where his grandfather and great-grandfather were allegedly born.
“The only reason I am going to the village I am running to is because I found the name on a family tree my mother helped me make for a school project when I was around 10 years old,” says Jared.
Jared’s great grandparents were married in Minsk and moved to America in 1910 where they settled in East St. Louis, there Jared’s father was born and grew up.
“Nobody in my family knows how they got the name of the village. So actually it is impossible to know if where I am running to, is indeed the birthplace of any of my family,” adds Jared.
Past life, new aspirations
“I got carried away with running not so long ago, about five years ago I worked as a manager of a network of hostels, bars and restaurants and enjoyed a rock and roll lifestyle.”
Over time, he quit his job, gave up drinking and smoking. This is when the idea of running to the ancestors’ lands arose. He shared it on Facebook and Belarusians responded – some helped with route planning, others suggested an overnight stay.
“I started in January, planned a route. It was necessary to clarify the condition of the roads since I will avoid the major roads. I trained a lot and even had three marathons in three days.”
Jared plans to cover 230 kilometers in nine days. “I will start at about 7 in the morning, run about 30 km a day. The last day will be the most difficult, I plan to cover most of the route.”
The journey is more important than the destination.”
Eugene Gutsalov from Vitebsk, who has recently run 650 km from north to south of Belarus, will keep Jared company. The men met on social networks and decided to run together.
Even though Goldman is not 100% sure his family comes from Kažan-Haradok, it doesn’t bother him too much. Long-distance running, he says, has been a huge help in turning his life around.
“The finding the family part is almost more of a metaphor for finding out more about myself and the people of Belarus. If I don’t find anyone in my family this is also OK with me.
I know that this will bring no closure and I am sure just the opposite and only open up more doors with more questions.
The success for most runners is not getting to the finish line, it is getting to the starting line. The journey is more important than the destination,” he said in an interview to stljewishlight.com.
Run for charity
Despite some difficulties with financing, Jared wanted the race to be charitable. Money is needed to buy a trail stroller so that children with disabilities can be taken for walks even through the woods.
Jared is collaborating with the inclusive team Wings of Angels Team, an NGO that works to integrate children with special needs through sports and provide assistance to their families.
His former employer has already raised $1,000 (and counting, so if you want to help, contact Jared via his official website) to purchase a specialized chair for running, manufactured in France.
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By the way, Jared’s mom plans to travel from the U.S. to Belarus to meet her son toward the end of his run and you can too. Just follow Jared during his adventure on Instagram or join him, either by running or bicycle, at the Trinity hill on Saturday, 10 August, at 8.30-9 am.