The New York City Marathon, known as the world's largest marathon, concluded just four days ago, leaving participants and spectators in awe of the enduring human spirit, unity, and the power of community. This year's event drew over 51,000 runners, including world-class runners from around the globe, making history as the reigning Olympic champion, the Boston Marathon winner, and last year's New York winner, who lined up together for the first time.
Dr. Aristian Torregano, Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) West Point Middle School principal, initially took up running as a pursuit of wellness. However, the experience of preparing for the 26.2-mile race transformed her mindset from "I can't" to "I can." Her journey was not just about covering the distance; it was an intentional effort to align her mind and body, ensuring readiness to successfully tackle any obstacle that came her way.
"I don't train to run marathons," she explained, "I train to overcome the persistent, consistent challenges that I encounter. I train to ensure my mind and body can endure challenges and continue forward."
While the marathon presented an enormous challenge, Torregano's passion for running was unmistakable. She shared, "I enjoy running so very much. The feeling of being out on the course with just me and my thoughts while my body responds to the environment is indescribable."
"I completed the entire marathon, my legs, thoughts, and will carrying me to the finish line!" she proudly declared, finishing with an impressive 5:28:43.
For Torregano, an Army veteran, running the marathon was more than just a physical and mental activity. She ran to raise money and awareness for the USO.
"The USO is always there to support, always there to offer a kind word or provide goods and services to enhance the lives of service members. The USO plays a critical role in supporting the morale of service members and their families," Torregano said. "Being selected to run for Team USO was an honor, and if raising funds to support their program is what I can do… I am going to do it with dedicated, sincere effort!"
Her commitment didn't stop there. Torregano acknowledged the accountability of her military-connected kids and their families and ran for them, saying, "The students at West Point MS hold me accountable. So I run for them and their families."
Torregano's journey to the New York City Marathon embodied the spirit of overcoming challenges, pushing boundaries, and giving back to a cause larger than herself.