March 9, 2023
We’re excited to introduce the incredible duo who will be running in the 2023 Boston Marathon for 826 Boston through the John Hancock Non-Profit Program.
Meet Esther Kim (pictured left) and Sviatlana Rose (pictured right), two passionate and inspiring runners who have committed to raise $15,000 to support 826 Boston’s writing, tutoring, and publishing programs, offered free to Boston students and families.
Both Esther and Sviatlana recently took a break from their training schedules to share a bit more about themselves.
What are you most looking forward to regarding running the marathon?
Esther: Running the Boston Marathon has been on my bucket list for years. I’m excited to experience the energy of the crowds and run the historic course!
Sviatlana: This is going to be my first marathon, and I am very excited to make THE Boston Marathon my first one! I am looking forward to sharing this experience with all of my family and friends while raising awareness for such an amazing cause!
Tell us about your training. What are you enjoying and where do you need our community to cheer you on in the next few months?
Esther: This is my first marathon where I’ve had to train in the winter, and it’s been challenging to get out in the cold! I’ve enjoyed exploring different areas of Jamaica Plain and the Riverway, where most of my training runs have been. It’s also great to see fellow runners out there. A simple wave or ‘hi!’ can be super encouraging when I’m training!
Sviatlana: I started training right after my first half marathon in October 2022. I was determined to run a full marathon in 2023, and this opportunity came along. When I began running, I was motivated to get healthier and do something that gave me a sense of achievement. Now, I just love to run.
When it comes to my training, the first half of January was hard! After all the food and relaxation from the holidays, getting back into the routine was the biggest challenge. Now, I run five to seven miles every other day. On the weekends, I try to do longer runs. As they become longer and longer, it is harder to carve out the time. My weekends used to be dedicated to chores and “life” things. Now, with two to three-hour runs and recovery, I have to rely on my family to step up and take over some of the responsibilities. I am very thankful that they do!
What do you listen to when you run/train?
Esther: I have an eclectic playlist. Right now K-pop (especially BTS!), female pop soloists (Beyonce, Lizzo), 90s grunge, and the performance recording of the musical Six are on heavy rotation.
Sviatlana: I listen to a lot of podcasts, including Andrew Huberman and Peter Attia.
When I feel like I am overloaded with information, I switch to music, or books. We have a book club at my company that I recently became a member of, and I am catching up on all the previous books the club read.
What do you love about writing/storytelling?
Esther: I love that writing and storytelling can take so many different forms. It’s also something that brings people together across cultures.
Sviatlana: I marvel at writers’ imaginations! I am a scientist and struggle with that quite a bit. My thinking is very logical, and my approach to writing is very structural. So when I read something, especially fiction, not only am I captured by a story, but I am also fascinated by how different writers pour their imagination onto pages.
What drew you to 826 Boston?
Esther: Providing students the opportunity to write their own stories is something that really drew me to 826 Boston. It’s so important to give them agency over their own narrative, which often doesn’t happen for young people.
Sviatlana: The work 826 Boston does is paramount to young readers and writers. I am not the first person—and certainly not the last one—to say that developing a love for reading and writing can build curiosity, confidence, and emotional intelligence.
The work 826 Boston does remind me a lot of a tutoring center I frequently visited when I began my educational path. When I came to the United States, I did not speak any English. Needless to say, it was a struggle for me to speak, let alone write, in English. A few years later, I got accepted to a community college and I was placed into a college-level English class. I was petrified when my professor asked the students to write a paragraph about themselves during our first class. I had never written a paragraph in English before then! I was able to not only pass but also excel in my classes thanks to the help of tutoring sessions. I am convinced that having a helping hand and sounding board is what propelled me in education. I am also convinced that 826 Boston pupils feel the same!
Anything else about yourself that you’d like to share?
Esther: I LOVE traveling, and I also love independent bookstores. Any time I travel, I seek out the indie bookstores in the area and browse for hours. It has been great to see the revival of independent bookstores recently!
Sviatlana: Before I learned about the opportunity to run for 826 Boston, I registered for Martha’s Vineyard Marathon that is held on May 20, 2023. I hope my legs can forgive me! I live on Cape Cod, so the beach is my sanctuary. I love the outdoors in general and am up for a challenge in any way!
We are so grateful for Esther and Sviatlana for supporting 826 Boston! Make sure you visit Esther’s page and Sviatlana’s pages to make a donation and wish them good luck as they continue to train for the Boston Marathon.