Looks like we have another Chariots of Fire story in the making.

This time, the big race poses a conflict for observant Jewish runners.

Bank officials said they’ve recently received calls and e-mails from Jewish runners concerned that the marathon, scheduled for Oct. 9, will conflict with Yom Kippur, which will occur the day before.

The Jewish Day of Atonement, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, requires worshippers to fast, abstaining from food and drink for a 25-hour period, and observant runners will only be able to break the fast the night before the marathon.

“To Jewish runners, you’re forcing a choice,” said mortgage broker Barry Stoltze, who has run in four Chicago marathons. “Either sacrifice your running and don’t do the marathon this year, or sacrifice your religion and cheat on the fast.”

In these times of popular devotion to sports (especially on weekends) and unquestioning faithfulness to team practice and play schedules (even when they conflict with religious observance), I’m just glad to hear the subject raised and challenged by athletes devoted to both faith and sport.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....