BU Today: Five Terriers Running for a Cause

Source: BU Today

Yesenia Arango (COM’19, Wheelock’21) 

A math teacher at a bilingual school in East Boston, Yesenia Arango will run her first marathon on her 25th birthday.

“I plan on finishing strong, and then having my family and friends over to my house for a barbecue and cake if the weather is nice,” Arango says. “But I definitely want to be near my bed by the end of those 26 miles.”

Arango raised money for Metro Housing|Boston, which strives to guarantee housing equity for everyone in Boston. The group provides rental assistance and affordable housing options and holds educational workshops.

“I teach in a community that is changing,” Arango says. “In the [East Boston] area, we see all these new high-rise buildings and expensive luxury condos [being built], and that is displacing a lot of our families, a lot of the families of students I work with each and every day. Metro Housing|Boston helps make sure that those families and our neighbors can stay in their communities.”

Boston’s rent prices are at an all-time high, the Boston Globe reports, and Arango says her family and friends have benefited from Metro Housing|Boston’s rental assistance programs. The fact that she saw the charity’s programs in action helped her choose this cause.

As a Boston-area native who ran track in high school and went on to BU, Arango has dreamed about running the Marathon for years. She fell in love with distance running along the Charles River as an undergraduate. She had late classes, so she would run from Sleeper Hall to the Esplanade in the morning, eventually reaching double-digit miles.

Arango also practices martial arts, holding a first-degree black belt in the combined martial art Gotan Ryu. An instructor who also works for Metro Housing|Boston mentioned that the organization had extra bibs for the marathon, so she applied.

Arango is the first among her family and friends to run the Boston Marathon. While she says it “feels incredible to open up this pathway for [my] friends and family members and the little Hispanic girls who want to see runners who look like them,” she has not had a mentor while training. “I had to do a lot of research on my own,” Arango says. “But I think all of that made me stronger, and I’ve learned so much and I’m excited to pass it on.”

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