Pencils of Promise has a long and proud history as a partner with the TCS New York City Marathon. Runners from across the country and around the world participate and contribute to our mission, and for that we’re forever thankful.
These runners will make their way to the finish line on November 7th, 2021 and we couldn’t be more thrilled to see them represent our PoP family. If you would like to track our progress or contribute to our team, please visit our page here.
In the meantime, let’s get to know some of our runners!
Community Patient Account Coordinator at Bergen New Bridge Medical Center
Student/Realtor/Tropical Fruit Farmer
Where are you from?
Solomon: New York!
James: Parsippany, New Jersey!
Aarambh: San Francisco!
Victoria: Jacksonville Beach!
Julian: Naples, Florida!
What’s your go-to running song?
Solomon: “‘Blinding Lights’ by The Weeknd.”
James: “‘Running on Empty,‘ It stuck in my head after watching Forrest Gump.”
Aarambh: “Reputation – Taylor Swift (the entire album).”
Victoria: “‘Up Up & Away’ by Kid Cudi.”
Julian: “‘Finish Line / Drown’ – Chance the Rapper.”
What inspired you to run the NYC marathon? How long have you been running?
Solomon: “I’ve taken running seriously after turning 40 last April during the pandemic and being quarantined. The NYC marathon is an iconic marathon and a great way to culminate my training for the past year.”
James: “I ran it two years ago as well and I was bit big by the running bug. Two years ago, I really wanted to do something big in my mom’s honor and I figured I would start small by running something like a 5k. I called PoP because I had read the book and thought that I could use my running a 5k as a fundraising opportunity. After the phone call, I realized that I agreed to run the NYC marathon with 0 background in running. Two years later, that was the best phone call I have ever been on.”
Aarambh: “I ran in high school and started running more consistently again (and fell in love with longer distances) a few months ago. I told myself I would run a marathon after training more, but as soon as I saw the atmosphere at the SF marathon in September, I knew I had to run one and was ecstatic to be able to sign up for NYC, having lived in the city for 6 months.”
Victoria: “I have been a professional athlete for most of my life and running a marathon has been a goal of mine for a while now. My main inspiration to run this marathon was my little sister, who is struggling with Cerebral palsy. She is a ray of sunshine, and I hope by running this marathon and supporting kids globally, I can show what it means to have her in my life and what an incredible motivator she is to me.”
Julian: “The death of my Lola (grandmother) really sparked my inspiration to run the marathon. I am a former D.1 soccer player and I never liked running. I still don’t, but my first mile run in over 5 years was right after she passed. Started running in July and signed up a week or two later.
After going to school in Boston and experiencing the marathon there every year, it was my goal to run one of the big marathons. With the crowds cheering for anyone and everyone, the mental fortitude to fight on, and the love and unity of ‘Boston Strong’ that came after the 2013 one, I needed to experience it for myself.”
Why is education important to you? Why are you running for Pencils of Promise?
Solomon: “I want the next generation of world changers to be equipped with the tools they’ll need.”
James: “For most of my life I have been an avid reader. I have been blessed to travel all over the world and experience many great adventures. But I also know what it is like to be stuck in one place. My mother had a long, hard battle with cancer. During this time my life consisted of going to school, doctors’ appointments, and sitting with her during chemo treatments. This was a really challenging and isolating time. But during this time, I had the privilege to read many wonderful stories with happy endings that allowed me to have an escape. I believe that through reading and education, you are able to see a way to a better tomorrow. If I am able to give even just one person the feeling of wonder through reading I could die a happy man.”
Aarambh: “Ensuring my sister and I received quality education was always a top priority for my parents, and I’m extremely grateful for the opportunities their hard work unlocked for me – both in school and after. Education is important to me because of its long-term value and the intergenerational impact it can have. I was drawn to PoP’s mission to not only provide access to education in its countries of impact, but to do so with high quality in mind in a holistic manner – and with a rigorous approach to measuring impact.”
Victoria: “Originally from a small town in Crimea, Ukraine, I understand the importance of education and what a privilege it is. I was very fortunate to get a scholarship and have an opportunity to go to college in the United States. Education has opened many doors for me and has had a tremendous impact on my life. I was first introduced to PoP via a book written by its founder. A week after I finished the book, I received an email from NYRR about the NYC marathon and participating charities, with PoP being one of them. I took it as a sign to start my campaign and raise funds to support kids on their journey to education.”
Julian: “The importance of education stems back to my Lola (grandmother) that passed away this past July. She always told me stories of her being a principal and how education was the greatest gift she could give her family. I will be running to celebrate her life and for the 250 million children in the world that lack basic learning skills. I have always had a goal to fundraise for a whole PoP school system, and this is how I begin that journey.”