One year ago, Major Shaked, a transport navigator in the IAF, began running with Professor Richard Bernstein, who was born blind. Ever since they first competed in the “Iron Man” competition, the two have become a winning duo that does much for the integration of people with disabilities. A Good Deed Week special
We first met the duo of Major Shaked and Professor Richard Bernstein one year ago, in the 2011 Jerusalem Marathon. They had begun running together several months prior, when they competed together in he “Half Iron Man” competition in Eilat, as Shaked assistd Richard, who was born blind. “We were the first team of our kind to compete in that race”, says Major Shaked, Head of the Transport Division in the training branch of the force. “Whe you reach the finish line and see the huge smile of someone who is connected to you, it means a lot more”.
“People Stop and Clap for Us”
Since that marathon, the two have begun advocating the integration of people with disabilities in the IDF and across the world, in the U.S Army. “It’s important to me to change the image of others, to blur the line on what we call ‘handicapped’”, explains Major Shaked. “Is it someone who can’t race like I can, or someone that society deems disabled?”
If you ask Major Shaked, the mutual feeling of accomplishment easily beats any medal. “In the competition itself people make an effort and elbow their way to the finish line, but for us they stop for a moment, and clap”. This week, Major Shaked and Prof. Richard ran the Jerusalem Marathon again. Their shirts proudly sporting the slogan–“Changing the world with every stride”.