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One Charity Runner's Journey to a 51-Minute PR

Dulce Zariñana, a dedicated participant in Fleet Feet Training Programs and a charity runner supporting Latinos Progresando, achieved a remarkable personal milestone at the 2023 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. She set a new personal best, shaving an impressive 51 minutes off her previous race time.

We caught up with Dulce to talk about her big race and what got her involved in the running community to begin with.

Q: How did you get into the sport of running?

Dulce: My love for running began when I started college. At the start of my college career at Carthage College, I was determined to be involved and make friends, while being a part of a community. I decided to join the Cross Country team. Little did I know it was going to be a sport that I would fall in love with and lead to running marathons. 

Q: What made you decide to do your first marathon? How was that experience?

Dulce: I decided to run my first marathon on a whim. If I'm being quite honest I did not think it through. I entered the Chicago Marathon lottery for fun and ended up getting a spot on my first attempt! When I read the email I was in shock that I had to run 26.2 miles. 

My first marathon was not anywhere near perfect. I messed up a lot with training, eating, and resting. I was lost most of the time and ended up getting severe shin splits 3 weeks before the race. I did not go into the marathon with a 100% attitude. I learned a lot of what I should not do while training for a marathon and I was determined to run another marathon to redeem myself. 

Q: What shifted from your first marathon to second marathon to have such a big personal best?

Dulce: The biggest thing that shifted from my first and second marathon was training with Chicago Sports Endurance. They truly made a huge impact in helping me achieve my PR! The training, support, and encouragement from CES was amazing. The training plan they had for me was ideal with my pace, time commitment, and previous injuries. Their guidance helped me achieve my PR goal that  I didn't know was possible. 

Q: Tell me about the charity you ran for. What drew you to them?Dulce: I had the privilege to run for Latinos Progresando. Latinos Progresando is an amazing non-profit organization based out of the Little Village area. I decided to run for Latinos Progresando as they do amazing outreach within the Mexican community and offer support to first-generation students who dream of pursuing higher education. Additionally, the affordable legal services drew me to them because it reminded me of the work that I did during my time as a Jesuit Volunteer in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The impact that Latinos Progresando has on the community is impactful and it is a privilege to be a part of their contribution to the community.

To learn more about Latinos Progresando, visit here.

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