In the Eitan association, everyone can (photo: official website, photo: Daniel Novikov)
The race, initiated by the Eitan - Anyone Can Association and in collaboration with the Municipality of Tel Aviv-Yafo, takes place in preparation for International Autism Awareness Day and aims to raise awareness that people with special needs can and should reach wherever they aspire.
The Eitan association was founded in 2015 by Yaniv Banyan and Hodal Yehezkel, childhood friends who, after being released from the army from elite units, began to train people with autism and special needs as part of fitness training. Yaniv, "From there we continued volunteering with other populations at the same time as studying fitness training and we thought why not combine it. We asked the parents if their children do sports and in most cases the answer was negative. Most of the day they are between four walls. I remember the first workout with the first exerciser very well, from there it started 'Let the rumor spread' and more and more trainees joined us."
Tel Aviv's social race (photo: official website, photo: Eitan Association)
In the association Eitan Anyone Can, today hundreds of trainees train in it all over the country, proving that the method they developed provides the trainees with much more than fitness.
"The trainings work on many challenges that the trainees face. It can be self-confidence, making eye contact and even talking to a stranger," Hodal says. and conduct the training themselves. Every time it's amazing to see how much sport can promote and empower"
The staff of trainers at Eitan includes dozens of fitness trainers who have undergone training in the Eitan method and among them are also trainees who have become trainers.
"Our trainees raise the bar for us every time. It started small and developed. So did the tradition of our annual race, which began with one trainee who wanted to run a half marathon at a time of the year when there were no races in Israel, so we created one for him." The first Eitan race that took place in 2017 in Tel Aviv 400 runners in which Yaniv and Hudal realized how important it is to create the regular annual meeting between the trainees and the general public as part of a social race.
"The meaning of a social race is that everyone runs together, our goal is to lower barriers, stigmas and prove that really anyone can. Our coaches work hard all year to reach physical and mental readiness to participate in such a big event and we see that everyone who participates in the race feels empowered to change Our goal at Eitan has long gone far beyond physical fitness. We believe in changing stigma, in creating an occupational horizon and independence in everyday life. This is what we do here."
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In the poster of the race, an X is drawn over the word special needs and in its place it says 'special abilities' "When you talk to a parent about their child with special needs, it pinches the heart, any branding like this has an impact, these terminologies and definitions change all the time, so we decided to take it one step further Come on. All of us, all humans, have special abilities. Everyone is different, and different and good at other things. So are people with autism or any other special ability. Hopefully next year we won't have to explain what special abilities mean."
The Eitan RUN race will take place tomorrow (Friday) in the Yarkon Park area.
The gathering will begin at 07:00 in the velodrome yard on Shetrit Street in the city.
The race will include four legs: 8 km, 5 km, 3 km and another leg of 3 km walking. The
first start will be at 8:00.
In the starting area there will be a happening that will include stalls, music and activities and it will be open before and after the race.
Race participants will receive a running kit that includes a race shirt and a medal.
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