Freehold resident Adam Simon, 21, is planning to spend the better part of July this year in Israel. In his first visit to what he called “our homeland,” the former Colts Neck High School track star will be running as fast as he can in quest of a medal at the 19th Maccabiah Games.
In high school, Simon said, his best 5k time was 17:26. At NCAA Division I Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla., where he is now a student, he has clocked a 16:30 5k, 4:24 1500 meters, 28:23 8k, and 36-minute 10k.
“Growing up, I was always a very fast runner and excelled at most sports,” he said. “I played travel and high school baseball, recreational league baseball and soccer, and was a member of the Freehold NJ Area Racing Club. I have loved running since middle school because of the competition and intense work it takes to become a great runner.
“Running became a healthy addiction that has changed my life for the better.”
Now, he acknowledged, he is thrilled to be on the threshold of meeting and competing against “the best Jewish athletes in the world.”
Meanwhile, he told NJJN via e-mail, he and his parents, Steve and Laura Simon, are equally proud, if not more so, about another number — the 4.0 grade-point average he achieved this past spring semester, which put him on the Dean’s List and President’s Honor Roll.
Yet another source of pride for Simon is his commitment to “giving back” in the Jewish and general communities. He attended Shalom Torah Academy in Morganville, where he became bar mitzva, and where he volunteered to assist and tutor new students. As a teenager he was part of a team that helped clean up Lake Topanemus Park in Freehold.
Since starting college in 2012, he said, he has become involved and volunteers with Hillel Broward of Palm Beach and joined Alpha Epsilon Pi — the Jewish service fraternity — and was elected to chair both the marketing committee and civics engagement committee, a role that includes organizing “community service projects and making sure we are involved on campus.” He has also served as a volunteer worker with Habitat for Humanity.
Simon said he will need about $8,000 to cover the cost of his participation in the Macvcabiah Games. He asked those willing to help to visit his web page, where he informs potential contributors that “the World Maccabiah Games is a celebration of Jewish unity, culture, and heritage through athletic competition.”