Gersh in the NYC Marathon

Runner Representing Gersh Academy in the NYC Marathon

We are excited to have been granted the opportunity to transcend our Gersh presence on to the New York City Marathon. We had the honor of being represented in the race by marathon runner, Christopher Arocho. Christopher is a Puerto Rico native, born and raised in Bayamon. He has been living in New York City for the past three years, where he currently lives and works as an accountant. This was the first full marathon that he was qualified to run in, stating that he found most of his inspiration through the chance to run for a bigger purpose than his own personal goals.

Hear from Chris:

“My name is Christopher Edwin Navas Arocho. I was born and raised in Bayamon, Puerto Rico and I have been a resident in the city of New York for the past 3 years. I’m 30 years old, graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a B.A. in Accounting and have worked in the accounting industry over 9 years.

I began running in 2017 with the goal of getting back into shape. I was always athletic during my high school and college years back in Puerto Rico. Once I moved and got into the New York city lifestyle, I started eating too much good NYC food and forgot to take time to exercise. Long story short, I was told by my primary doctor that I had to watch my blood pressure as it was high for my age. This served as a wake-up call and I began running as a hobby to stay healthy. One thing led to another and within a month I became a member of the New York Road Runners association and completed the 9+1 program within 5 months, running nine qualifying races and volunteering at one event and got my automatic entry into the 2018 NYC Marathon.

It has now been a little more than a year since I started running and within a few days I will have the opportunity to run my first full marathon. What started as a hobby to become healthier has now become one of my main goals, running 26.2 miles through all 5 NYC boroughs. Best part of it all is that a year later, after running and training for the marathon, I have been able to keep my blood pressure at the right levels according to my doctor. But this is not what I am most proud of neither is it what I am most looking forward to on marathon Sunday.

I have been blessed with the opportunity to do much more than just complete a race for a personal goal. During this year’s marathon I will have the honor of representing Gersh Academy for Students on the Autism Spectrum. I was presented with the opportunity by my brother in law -who currently works amongst the Gersh Academy staff in New York-  and as soon as he asked I said yes.

When reading and learning about Gersh Academy I began to find parallels between my goal of running my first marathon and the Gersh philosophy and values. Just to mention a couple:

i) As founder Kevin Gersh says: “Our philosophy is we don’t ask children to change who they are for the classroom structure. We adapt to them”. I could instantly relate this with my journey to the marathon since I could not just change the NYC lifestyle but instead I had to adapt to my reality and look for ways to become healthier.

ii)The Gersh Values state that “when we aim for the stars, we always reach our full potential”. I could not have gotten this far if I had not aimed for a goal that seemed unachievable at first.

These same values state that “our heart is at the core of everything we do”. Looking for ways to be compassionate with others is much more fulfilling than any race, be it a half or full marathon or even and full iron-man. I know I made the right decision when I accepted the opportunity to represent Gersh during my first marathon. This is because I will no longer run for myself but instead I will be running for an entire community.

I truly hope that my marathon run can inspire those amongst the Gersh Academy community just as much as the Gersh Academy has inspired me while learning about all they do for those across the autism spectrum.”
– Chris Arocho

About the NYC Marathon

The first NYC Marathon was organized in 1970, and included only 127 entrants. In 2018, the TCS New York City Marathon had the largest field in event history, with more than 52,000 finishers. The Marathon course runs through all five of New York City’s boroughs: Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan’s iconic Central Park. 

Learn More about the TCS NYC Marathon Here

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