By Sophia Ricco
This April, Northport resident Jorge Jimenez will race for a cause close to his heart at the Boston Marathon.
Jiminez will take on the world’s oldest annual marathon with the YMCA of Greater Boston’s team on Apr. 15.
Throughout his life, Jimenez has been involved with the Y, utilizing their services as child, and later donating time and financial contributions. After moving to Northport five years ago, Jimenez joined the YMCA of Long Island’s Board of Directors and ran in two New York City Marathons to support the organization.
“I’m a Y kid, I grew up at the Y,” Jimenez said. “I spent a lot of time at the YMCA when I lived in Miami and volunteered for the YMCA when I was in college. It was a really great place for me growing up, so now that I serve on the board, I can give back.”
A seasoned distance runner, Jimenez was drawn to the Boston Marathon’s magnitude and grandeur. By joining team YMCA of Greater Boston, he has committed to raise $7,500 for their cause, that will support the charity’s teen programs.
“The Y is just a great, safe place for kids to play, exercise and learn about healthy living,” Jimenez said. “These are programs I probably participated in as a kid, but didn’t know it.”
Last summer, the YMCA of Greater Boston offered free three-month memberships to 17,000 teens at the Y’s 13 branches, giving them access to summer programming, swim classes, and camp. Teens were empower and engaged at events focused on safe dating, volunteerism and leadership.
“This past summer was our busiest to date with each of our branches creating programming to fit the needs of the youth in their neighborhoods, which would not be possible without funds raised by our runners,” YMCA of Greater Boston president and CEO James Morton said.
To prepare for Boston’s 26.2-mile course, Jimenez is in the middle of a 16-week training program that focuses on speed during weekdays and distance on the weekends.
“I like for my kids to see me set a very ambitious goal and work towards it, they see me checking days off my list,” Jimenez said. “It shows them that hard work pays off, because the plan starts with a 4 mile run on Sunday, then a 6 mile and so on, it builds up and they see for themselves that if you do the work, you will get better.”
To prep himself for Boston, Jimenez recently ran the Prospect Park Half Marathon in Brooklyn and George Washington’s Birthday Marathon in Washington, D.C.
“You get to practice being in a race, running with other people, drinking water from the aid stations,” Jimenez said. “And you run with all your gear, what you’re gonna wear on race day, it’s like a dress rehearsal.”
Jimenez is looking forward to a 20 mile run this weekend, though he admits the last six weeks of training, when mileage is the highest, can be grueling. Before tapering down and giving his legs a rest, Jimenez plans to run 21 miles of the Boston Marathon’s course at the end of March, as preparation for the big day.
“It varies, some days you feel good and like you can run forever and some days you’re just not feeling it… It is a lot of time and a lot of running. But the good news is you can eat all the pizza you want,” Jimenez said with a laugh.
Anyoone wishing to support Jorge Jimenez and the YMCA of Greater Boston can donate at crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/ymca-boston-2019/jorgejimenez7.