270 Israeli soldiers representing the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces IMPACT! program ran in the Tel Aviv Marathon on Friday, according to an FIDF statement. Gezachew Fanta, 33, an Ethiopian-born former IDF soldier, was among them. Fanta immigrated to Israel at the age of 19 with his parents and eight siblings. Last year, Fanta became a champion in the 50 km. race and has completed 12 marathons around the world, including in Boston, Berlin, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, according to FIDF. "There's something constructive and empowering to run as part of a team, especially with a team like IMPACT! made up of veteran fighters. Running with my wife is just as exciting as completing a marathon," Fanta said in an FIDF statement.Fanta served in a special operations reconnaissance unit in the IDF’s Golani Brigade and graduated from The Academic College at Wingate in Netanya.“I am where am I am today because of Renay Angel and Dan Mendlovic’s kindness and generosity,” Fanta told FIDF. “Thanks to them, and FIDF, I have a much brighter future ahead of me.”This year’s group of IMPACT! Program participants running in the Tel Aviv Marathon was the largest since the organization began having a marathon group three years ago. The program gives IDF combat veterans from families with economic hardships full scholarships. FIDF IMPACT!, which was founded 18 years ago in 2002, and has provided 16,130 veterans with $185 million worth of four-year scholarships.