How many people can say they are reaching their childhood goals by running a Marathon? Natasja, who is running the 2021 TCS New York City Marathon on behalf of PAWS NY, chose the goal of running a Marathon before the age of 26 (the number of miles in the race) when she was in fourth grade—and now she’s working toward completing it this year!
An animal lover, Natasja found PAWS NY while looking for a nonprofit organization to support while running the Marathon, and she is excited to join the community! “I genuinely can’t think of a better way to have a positive impact on this community, so I feel very fortunate to now be a part of it,” Natasja said. “My connection to PAWS NY started through this Marathon but I’m excited to continue it well after race day.” Read more about Natasja in her Q&A below, including her favorite spots to run in Manhattan.
Why did you decide to run the Marathon? Have you participated in long races in the past?
When I was in the fourth grade, I made a goal of running a marathon before I was the age of the number of miles. And here we are! It sounds silly, but for whatever reason that goal stuck with me. This will be my first marathon and I am so excited! I love that I have such an amazing team backing me up. Not only am I challenging myself physically and mentally, I know I’m positively impacting my community through PAWS NY. It really is a win/win.
What is your connection to PAWS NY? Why is this cause important to you?
I am a HUGE animal lover and truly believe animals, especially pets, are a gift in this world. Pets provide us with unconditional love and a bond that is so special, they really are family and I can’t imagine having that taken away. PAWS NY helps animals and people in need simultaneously, which is such a beautiful thing. I genuinely can’t think of a better way to have a positive impact on this community, so I feel very fortunate to now be a part of it. My connection to PAWS NY started through this marathon but I’m excited to continue it well after race day.
Do you have any pets of your own? Did you grow up with pets?
I don’t have any pets in the city (yet). My family dog, Lucy, lives with my parents in Connecticut. She’s quite the suburbs gal—she loves to roll around in the grass and get butt scratches. We adopted Lucy when I was 12 and I couldn’t imagine growing up without her. I absolutely adore that little girl and love going home to see her. No matter if it’s been 10 minutes or 2 months, she is just as excited to see me.
How long have you been running? What are some of your favorite places to run?
I’ve always enjoyed running, but I started consistently running in the past couple of years. Especially at the start of COVID, I found running to be very therapeutic and a great reason to get outside. My go-to running spot had always been along the East River, but recently I’ve given Central Park a try and it may be creeping into first place for my favorite place.
What do you do in your free time (besides run)?
I like reading, hanging with friends and family, and trying new places and things, especially when there’s food involved.
Share a couple fun facts about yourself! What should we know?
I’m a dual citizen—I was born in England. I recently got my dog’s DNA tested and it turns out she is 12.3% Supermutt! (A fun way of saying she’s such a mix it’s hard to detect what she is).
What are your goals for the Marathon?
Just to finish with a smile!
We know you can do it, Natasja! Donate to support Natasja and the rest of Team PAWS NY online!