Outracing Grief through the 2018 NYC Marathon

Posted on June 4, 2018 by Catholic Charities Admin  |  Share

Team Catholic Charities NY Member Sam Salgado-Hernandez Shares His Inspiration

Learning not just how but why our Team Catholic Charities members run the 2018 New York City Marathon can be remarkably inspiring.  Some pull strength and inspiration from the cause: raising funds for those we serve at Catholic Charities.  Others run to get and stay in marathon-ready shape.  Still others, like Sam Salgado-Hernandez, run to battle back grief while empowering themselves and others.  Let’s hear from Sam now:

By Samuel Salgado-Hernandez

Team Catholic Charities NY Member


Running: A Metaphor for People’s Struggles to Overcome Hurdles

For me, growing up in extreme poverty with parents who had health problems, running was an adult challenge that helped build ethic in other areas of my life.

It’s also given me a way to “outrun” my family history of disease and build a healthier future for myself and my family. I run for my son, to help him form healthy habits and to model what he can accomplish through perseverance and dedication.  

In many ways, running is emblematic of the struggle that people make to overcome larger and more pressing issues.

Walking my First Race

I came to running later in life. This is only my 5th year running.  

I didn’t grow up on a track team. I tried cross country in middle school and walked my first and only race.

Depressed and Chasing Endorphins

In 2013, I started running because I was depressed and I wanted to chase endorphins. Running appealed to me because it gave me something I could control: how far I could go, how fast I could run, and how long I could endure. 

From 2013-2015 my goal was just to log miles: to go outside and form the habit. 

Running to Outrace My Grief

But in 2015, my father passed away, and running provided me with an outlet for my grief. I wanted to challenge myself, so I decided to run a half-marathon and follow an actual training program for the first time. Because I started my running habit in Queens, I ran the Queens half-marathon. I did poorly. I had horrible splits and dehydration, and I felt generally miserable the entire time. But I finished. 

Pacing Myself

In 2017, I adjusted my strategy: I learned how to pace myself better and when to hydrate. I made my return to the Queens half and dropped my time by 30 minutes. I finished feeling better and prouder than after any half I had raced. 

I have finished 5 half marathons: Queens HM x 2, Pain to Paine Trail Half Marathon (New Rochelle, NY), Hook Half Marathon (Nyack, NY), and the Suez Run the Reservoir Half Marathon (Mahwah, NJ). 

New Twist to Commuting

Because I currently live in Rockland County and work in lower Manhattan, from Monday through Friday, I complete a 3-4 mile run from my bus stop to my home. Then on the weekends, I squeeze in my long runs around Rockland, often through its vast network of trails. I plan to use Hanson's 18-week Beginner Marathon training plan to prepare for the NY Marathon.  

I obsessively track my runs with the app Strava, and you can follow my training progress and give me “kudos” there: 

Running through and for Marginalized Communities

I want to run for Catholic Charities Community Services because I've witnessed firsthand the value of the work that they provide to marginalized communities. I know that programs like St. Nicholas provide a necessary service to families who may not have as many available resources.

Filed under