Au Pair in America is proud to announce that several Community Counselors, au pairs and host families are participating in the 2019 New York City Marathon!
Get ready to cheer on Au Pair in America on November 3rd! Meet our 2019 marathon participants:
Cori Malaby and Gisela Smit, Host Mom and Au Pair from South Africa
Region: New York
It doesn’t get much closer than this host mom and au pair dynamic running duo! Cori and Gisela, who both completed a half marathon together in late August in preparation for the NYC Marathon, are both incredibly excited!
Cori and Gisela have been training separately until now, but speak every day about their past runs, present runs and future runs. They have certainly strengthened their relationship by sharing this common goal. Cori and Gisela say that they support each other, complain to each other and plan with each other. They are now running their long runs together and it has really helped to make the long ones enjoyable. What an incredible team!
Katrina Laws, Community Counselor since 2015
Region: Portland, OR
A marathon has been on Katrina’s bucket list for ages. Years ago, she favored half marathons but due to injuries she significantly cut back on running. Thanks to physical therapy she is healed and ready to run!
Katrina states that training for the New York City Marathon has been a true rollercoaster of emotions: “It’s beautiful, ugly and lovely.” The physical exhaustion and body aches have been more than she imagined. Although she has sacrificed social events for training, she exclaims that the opportunity is amazing. When she wants to give up, she thinks of friends and family that have run beside her laughing, crying and singing with her. Her children are older and having a flexible job as a Community Counselor has made it easier to hit the pavement. When she has to dig deep, she thinks of au pairs and how brave and strong they are coming to the U.S. for this cross-cultural experience and it brings a smile to her face. Katrina says that without them and Au Pair in America, she wouldn’t have this opportunity to run in the 2019 NYC Marathon. She cannot wait to see Au Pair in America cheering her on!
Alex Heil, Host Family since 2015
Region: New Jersey
This will be Alex’s 22nd marathon! He recently finished Ironman Lake Placid in July and Ironman Maryland at the end of September. Alex has run for various charity organizations over the years and this year chose the Sierra Club, an organization that has made protecting the environment its mission, and a cause that he strongly believes in. His mission for the NYC marathon is just to have fun and enjoy the turn onto 1st Ave at Mile 16!
Alex says that having an au pair is certainly helpful for his training, especially since long runs or bike rides on the weekend can be scheduled when he knows that there is someone there to help with the kids.
Andrea Lowery, Community Counselor since 2002
Region: Atlanta, GA
Andrea was always a runner, but her specialty was a much shorter distance: the 100-meter sprint. In March 2015 Andrea entered the Peachtree Road Race, the world’s largest 10k. After the race, she entered an Atlanta 10 miler and the Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon and by September she had registered for the Skidaway Island Marathon. Since then Andrea has completed 10 additional marathons: three of which were within a 4-week period! She is currently working on her twelfth and thirteenth marathons.
Andrea says that beyond the physical accomplishment, it has brought a new level of self-confidence. She loves that no one can take away the accomplishments and the friendships she has made. Marathons provide a societal melting pot with everyone cheering each other on. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!
Andrea’s pre-race jitters can certainly be compared with what our au pairs must experience pre-departure. The year for an au pair is, in itself, a marathon—a long journey that at the same time will pass by in the blink of an eye. Andrea says that people state that a marathon is not 26.2 miles, but rather hundreds of miles of sacrifice and slog; it can be grueling and at many points along the way, the temptation will be to give up. In Andrea’s mind, this is exactly what the year for an au pair is like. There will be many barriers they encounter, which they must overcome. They will have successes and failures. The reward is the accomplishment of completion and the experience of cultural exchange.
Andrea says that being a marathoner has made her a better Community Counselor: there are always challenges but she has an inner sense of self that allows for her to be her best for others without sacrificing what is important. It has helped her to breathe in the moment, to apply a considered response, and given her the energy to overcome barriers.
Keyla Jimenez Vindas, Au Pair from Costa Rica
For Keyla, this has been an opportunity to improve her family relations in Costa Rica. Her stepdad has been helping her train—he ran the New York City Marathon when he was young. Her stepdad loves having a second chance to experience the marathon, this time with her! Keyla says that the marathon training has improved their relationship a lot, and now they feel more connected with each other.
Keyla says that she has had a lot of support in different ways and from different people. Her host family has been amazing, and always consider her training when they make her schedule. Her host kids always cheer her on when she is going for long runs, and she feels that they are a part of this too! Keyla has two neighbors that ran the Boston Marathon, and they have given her a lot of advice. Keyla also mentions that her Community Counselor, Ute, always asks her how training is going and cheers on her efforts.
Keyla feels like being part of this journey has allowed her to experience a new and even healthier way to live. She never thought about running as part of her life and now she misses it so much on rest days! Keyla says that despite moments of difficulty, both physical and mental, this opportunity has changed her life and she cannot be more than grateful to Au Pair in America for giving her the opportunity to make it possible.
Bryoni Butler, Au Pair from Australia
Region: New York
Bryoni, who is part of an Australian Football team in New York and ran a half marathon with friends last year, has said that the overall experience of training for the New York City Marathon has been quite positive. She has definitely been through some ups and downs during training but has had heaps of support from her friends and family. Bryoni reached out to a few people who have participated in marathons and taken their advice regarding things like training schedules, food intake, water intake, gels, bars and recovery.
Bryoni generally has a work schedule that allows her to train during the day, whether that entails running outside, bike riding or going to the gym. She also has some lovely parks and running areas close by to her, which have kept her motivated as the scenery is very picturesque. Bryoni is very excited to run in the marathon and experience the challenge!
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