Ariel runs a very special race

June 5, 2013 by Michelle Favero
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Year 8 Emanuel School student, Ariel Schonberger, ran a very special race in this year’s Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon.

Ariel Schonberger

Ariel Schonberger

The slightly built young man, who turned 14 this month, was one of 10,439 runner. He wasn’t running for individual glory, but to help find a cure for a rare and debilitating condition – Canavan Disease. Ariel’s sister, Jess, suffers from the disease which sees her needing 24 hour care.

Ariel wasn’t running alone. He had teamed up with three scientists whose life work is to find a cure for Canavan disease and other types of Leukodystrophy. Together they decided that a few hours of pain was worth the opportunity to raise money for research and support.

Training for a half marathon is no easy task with school work, friends and social media to keep you otherwise occupied. But, Ariel was determined to cross the finish line. He worked out that 21km was equivalent to running 50 times around the block at home or five times around Centennial Park. The Park and block became his raining fields.

On 20 May, Ariel ran his 21km and, together with his team makes, raised almost $3,000.  He said, “I ran the race in 2h10m. It was pretty tough because I had a minor asthma attack. I thought about giving up for quite some time but I was determined so I went on to finish. The website that shows that I ran past more than 1000 people in the last km!”

Principal of Emanuel School, Anne Hastings, was impressed with Ariel’s achievement, “ We admire Ariel for his tenacity and determination. Running 21km is not an easy task for most adults. To train for and run this distance at 14 years of age is an impressive feat. Tikun Olam is a concept that is central to the School’s philosophy and Ariel’s race was testament to his commitment to help find a cure for his sister and thousands of other children suffering from Canavan’s disease.”


If you would like to show Ariel just how much you admire his achievement, donations are still being accepted at

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