USTA Eastern New Jersey

» News

Dorothy Ruderman Gears Up for First Marathon

October 2, 2013 01:23 PM

By Benjamin Snyder,

The 2013 ING New York City Marathon will begin in November and two runners are representing USTA Eastern through the USTA Serves, the National Charitable Foundation of the USTA. Below is the story of one of those runners.

Dorothy Ruderman of Stanhope, New Jersey, a former track runner and a relatively new tennis convert, comes from a rich heritage of competition and finds comfort in athletics. Giving back through USTA Serves was a perfect match for her ambitions to run her first marathon.

The daughter of the late Roman Ruderman, a Belorussian wrestling champion who passed away suddenly in 2011, she grabbed the opportunity to run her first marathon with excitement. “I was just kind of mesmerized by the thought of running a marathon,” she said.

About selecting the NYC Marathon as the venue, she added, “I thought it would be good to go bold and go big on my first run.”

Running, too, is a comfort for Ruderman when times get tough. “I looked into it a little more seriously after my father passed away. She said this was a way to “reset” herself and “find a little more stability.”

While running has long been a part of her life, tennis has blossomed as a much newer hobby, although a powerful one, too. “It was actually pretty cool because the last two years of my father’s life, we played a lot of tennis together,” she said. “I really kind of learned a lot about the sport and appreciated it when we’d play.”

Although she took up tennis in the last few years, one of her most poignant memories is on court with her father, who trained Olympic wrestling teams for competition during his esteemed career, as a child. “I have this vivid memory of when I was probably seven years old. We would go to this community pool; and on the other side of the pool there were tennis courts. I remember on a few occasions we brought tennis rackets down and here I am four feet tall and my giant father is teaching me how to hold this racket. I have vivid memories of trying to serve with this giant racquet that was literally the size of me,” she said.

These days, having improved by a lot and playing with friends when she can, Ruderman, a senior at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania studying economics, thinks back to those memories playing with her father and thinks about the fierce competition she’d give him today.

There is the marathon we run and there is the marathon we live…in both we encounter obstacles that test our ability to transcend pain, our perseverance to complete what is incomprehensible, and our desire and gratitude for 10 water stops. To me personally, the marathon represents a triumph over adversity.

Both tennis and running have been integral parts of my life for as long as I can remember. I am the daughter of Polish and Belorussian immigrants who from an early age taught me the importance of building character through athletics. I saw firsthand the power athletics could have in bettering the lives of many. My father was a 9-time Belorussian National Champion in freestyle wrestling and a coach of the Polish Olympic Team. He also coached extensively through USA Wrestling and the New York Athletic Club after immigrating to the United States. It is because of my parents’ courageous journey that I am afforded a life of endless opportunities, and for this I am infinitely grateful.

In the fall of 2011 my father passed away suddenly. Much of my athletic aspirations can be accredited to his influence and many of my most cherished memories are those spent on the tennis court and cross-country course. Being introduced to an adult size tennis racquet at age 7 and expected to lift an object, which I nearly matched in size, are some of my earliest memories on the court. Luckily, I grew into my racquet and father-daughter tennis matches became one of my favorite summer night activities. 

The idea of bettering the lives of others through sport is something I hold dear to my heart and the reason why I choose to run the 2013 ING New York City Marathon for Team USTA Serves. I realize that I would not be where I am today had it not been for my father’s commitment to sports. I am honored to be able to enrich the lives of others through my own marathon commitment. I am thrilled to be a part of a team that so greatly impacts our nation’s youth and disabled individuals and I look forward to spreading awareness of this admirable organization.

To donate to Dorothy Ruderman’s fundraising efforts and support the USTA Serves mission, please visit her crowdrise page.