LA MIRADA NATIVE WILL RUN IN THE BOSTON MARATHON TO RAISE FUNDS FOR ESPLANADE ASSOCIATION

A.J. Hernandez

BY BRIAN HEWS

A.J. Hernandez grew up in La Mirada, travelling across the country to attend Boston College which is located at Mile 21 of the Boston Marathon, and about 5 miles from the Marathon Finish line.

Back in April 2012, Hernandez watched his very first Boston Marathon in person, cheering the runners as they reached the top of Heartbreak Hill at Mile 21, just near the Boston College campus. 

“The energy was unlike anything I had ever felt – the entire city had shut down to line the marathon route, shouting words of support and encouragement and waving signs through the air. It wasn’t just a race, it was a celebration and everyone – the volunteers, the spectators and the runners – was so proud to be there,” Hernadez told HMG-LCCN in a recent interview. 

By his second year, Hernandez, like many others, had fallen for the City and had fully embraced Boston as his home away from home. As a freshman in 2012, he did not know if he would stay, but one year later he finally felt like he belonged. 

Then came the horrific bombing at the finish line of the 2013 marathon which killed three people and injured 264, the bombs exploding 12 seconds apart near the marathon’s finish line on Boylston Street.

“When the bombs went off at the marathon finish line, it was personal. In the hours and days that followed, I watched as the people of Boston came together to honor the victims and their families, the first responders, the runners, the spectators, rallying in the face of terrorism to take back what was ours. I have never felt more proud to call Boston home as I did that day, and it was then that I decided I’d make my dream of crossing the Boston Marathon finish line a reality.”

It took six years but now Hernandez’  dream will become a reality.

Hernandez has been invited to run the Boston Marathon on April 20, 2020 with Team Esplanade. As one of 15 members selected to the team, he has committed to four months of training during the harsh Boston winter and has committed to raising $9,000 for the Esplanade Association. 

The Esplanade Association works to revitalize, enhance and sustain the Charles River Esplanade through ecological stewardship & restoration, community engagement & education, advocacy and investment.  

 

 

 

The Charles River Esplanade is a stretch of three-mile public green space on the banks of the Charles River in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. In addition to providing a beautiful natural landscape, the park is home to various historical monuments, recreational facilities, and over five miles of pathway for walking, running or biking. 

The Esplanade Association’s work is critical to improving the biological diversity and beauty of the natural environment on the Esplanade, utilizing the best practices in land care to improve soil heath, manage invasive plant species, expand native plantings and care for Boston’s urban tree canopy. 

Every year, the Association brings thousands of children, students and families to the park for free exercise classes, day camps and educational events. 

One hundred percent of all money raised by Hernandez will go directly to support the Association to make sure the park stays a welcoming place for its millions of visitors each year. 

“Not only do I have the privilege of running the world’s oldest annual marathon next year, but I have the honor of doing so to raise awareness about a very deserving cause,” said Hernandez, “training for a marathon and raising money is a challenge, that, while I’m more than ready to tackle head on, cannot be done alone. 

Hernandez has set up a fundraising page on crowdrise.com. To donate to his cause and help a local resident go to http://bit.ly/lmhernandez. 

“As a Communications major, I know how vital community newspapers are, they are an important communication tool, that is why I contacted your organization first, to help me get the word out.”

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