The LJCC’s Sam Lapidus Montclair Run is held annually in memory of Sam Lapidus, who died of Ewing sarcoma just shy of his 15th birthday in 2008. One regular race participant is Sam’s younger sister, Clara, who is a junior at the University of Alabama. We caught up with her to ask a few questions about her brother and this Thanksgiving Day tradition…
LJCC: How do you remember Sam?
CL: Sam was one of two best big brothers in the whole world. I was only 5 when Sam died, so my memories of him are limited. However, I am constantly hearing so many stories about my brother and how much he loved his family — especially me!!!
Sam was diagnosed with cancer just one month before I was born, and my parents have always told me that I was the best medicine he ever got.
Why is it important for people to participate in this race?
There are so many reasons. First, the race supports two extremely important organizations: the Levite Jewish Community Center and the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Alabama. Second, the race is a great way to spend time with your family doing something fun on Thanksgiving morning. And third — and most importantly — when you participate in the race, you can eat more yummy Thanksgiving food guilt-free.
Are you a regular runner? How do you prepare for the race?
I am the furthest thing from a “regular runner.” The most preparation I do for the race is carb-loading the night before.
When did you first run in the SLMR and how many times have you run it?
The first time I participated in the run was in 2009, when the race was renamed in Sam’s honor. I was pushed in a stroller by my speed-demon of a dad, and I have been doing the run ever since.
What’s your best time? Are you competitive about it?
HAHA! My best time is whatever time it takes to cross the finish line. I am very competitive about crossing the finish line, as that is the one and only time you will see me run the entire race.
Besides the race itself, what are your favorite elements of the event?
My favorite part is getting to see all my family and friends. Everyone comes to the race regardless of whether they are actually running, and I think it is the one time where almost everyone important in my life is all in one place.
What’s your major at UA? What do you like most about the school?
I am majoring in psychology with a minor in criminal justice on the pre-physician assistant track. My favorite thing about ‘Bama is, obviously, Alabama football (ROLL TIDE!!!). Sam was the biggest Alabama fan in the world so it is my duty, as his little sister, to go to Every. Single. ‘Bama. Game. I actually think the first song I ever learned was the Alabama fight song, which Sam taught me at the age of 2.
What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food?
Definitely my aunt Celia’s sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top.