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Hutchins Elementary School Counselor Runs 2023 New York City Marathon

In July of the summer, Hutchins Elementary School Counselor Alyssa Gomez, decisively committed to participating in the 2023 New York City Marathon—a challenging course spanning 26.2 miles through the five boroughs of New York. Commencing at the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge in Staten Island, the route travels through Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and the finish line lands in Manhattan's Central Park. 

Reflecting on her running journey, Ms. Gomez, a product of public school education, discovered her passion for running during her sophomore year as a member of the cross-country team. It was not until during her collegiate years at the University of Austin that she fully embraced the joy of running, “I actually took a running class at The University of Texas at Austin, and it made me realize that running could be fun.” 

In her preparation for the marathon, Ms. Gomez encountered the significant challenge of balancing training with her personal and professional life. “Time is the most difficult part of training for a marathon,” Gomez explains. “It takes time for your body to adapt and build the endurance needed to run for a long period of time.” She also emphasizes 80% is mental and 20% is physical when it comes to her five-month training period. This journey prepared her for one of the biggest marathons in the United States and a goal she always strived to achieve. 

On November 5, amidst the hectic streets of New York, Gomez faced the marathon with supporters lining the course to cheer on the diverse group of runners.  At every corner you would catch glimpses of runners getting ready to experience a grueling yet once in a lifetime marathon. As Gomez approached the starting line, she conveyed, “It was finally time for my wave to begin, and I went to my corral, trying to make sure that I was mentally ready for the mental challenge that I was going to face.”

Gomez had previously run two marathons in the San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, but expressed how this particular marathon felt like her first because it was an unknown course and was the hardest that she completed, mainly because of the bridges in NYC and the overall elevation gain. The NYC running course begins with flat and leveled miles to ease the runners into a 26.2-mile journey, but as they face mile 14, their course turns into an uphill battle.

Runners are faced with a two-mile uphill crossing of the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge along with the silence of empty streets as spectators aren’t allowed on that bridge. While this might be considered the toughest part of the course for most runners, the end of the bridge is like the light at the end of the tunnel. Friends, families, and supporters are waiting with excitement to cheer them on to continue with the next half of their journey. “What made the course so fun was all the spectators lining the streets ready to hype up any runner with their cheers and high-fives,” Gomez expressed. “Their energy was electric and the signs were very motivating and creative!”

At the final miles of her marathon, Gomez looked to her family and friends for encouragement and support as she delved deep to remain mentally sharp and make it to the finish line. “Thankfully, right before I went up the bridge, I had my sister and cousin there to cheer me on, and they helped boost me up when I wanted to give up,” Gomez reflected. “Finally I could see the finish line and all I could think was, ‘Wow, I'm about to finish the NYC marathon.’ This was something I never thought I would achieve.”

When asked about her reasons behind her love for running, Gomez declared, “I run for my mental health. It gives me the peace that I need when I have a hectic day and the energy that I need when I’m feeling down.” Gomez’s discipline and resounding efforts to achieve her goal is an inspiration to us all at SSAISD, and we couldn’t ask for more of an exemplary model to represent us as a district.