Ruderman is among eight runners who will dedicate their marathon experience to support the mission of USTA Serves and collect pledges for donations that will go toward tennis and education programs in the USTA Eastern Section.
Ruderman is a longtime runner and a relatively new tennis convert. She comes from a rich heritage of competition and finds comfort in athletics. Giving back through USTA Serves, she said, was a perfect match for her ambitions to run her first marathon.
The daughter of the late Roman Ruderman, a Belorussian wrestling champion and Olympic coach who died 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.”
Ruderman said she's found running to be a welcome comfort during hard times.
“I looked into it a little more seriously after my father passed away," she said, calling running a way to “reset” herself and “find a little more stability.”
Tennis, she said, is a much newer hobby, but she's found it to be powerful too.
“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.”
Ruderman said one of her most poignant recollections is being on court with her father, who trained Olympic wrestling teams for competition when his daughter was a child.
“I have this vivid memory of when I was probably seven years old," she shared. "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."
In an essay expressing why she wanted to run the marathon for USTA Serves, she wrote: “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.”
To date, USTA Serves has awarded more than $16 million in grants and scholarships to people and programs throughout the country in order to provide at-risk and underserved youth with greater opportunities. That total includes more than $12 million to fund 247 programs in 47 states, including $900,000 to adaptive programs for people with special needs, and more than $4.5 million in college educational scholarships and player incentive awards to more than 900 middle school students and high school seniors.
To support Dorothy Ruderman's quest and make a pledge to benefit USTA, head to her fundraising web page.
Also taking part in Sunday's NYC Marathon are local men Billy Sickley and Paul Meyer; we wish them and Ruderman best of luck Sunday.