Runner Spotlight: Marisa

PAWS NY has a team of 17 runners participating in the 2023 United Airlines NYC Half while fundraising for our organization, and today we have the pleasure of introducing you to one of them: Marisa!

This newlywed Manhattanite was planning to run the 2020 United Airlines NYC Half before it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She completed the 2022 Brooklyn Half and is looking forward to finally tackling the NYC Half this year–and supporting PAWS NY along the way.

A woman in a yellow tank top and black shorts poses on the Coney Island Boardwalk at the end of the Brooklyn Half Marathon, holding up her finisher's medal.
Marisa at the finish line of the Brooklyn Half!

“I grew up with two dogs and they made my childhood so rich,” she said. “The connection between humans and pets is vital and such an amazing part of life.” Read Marisa’s full Q&A below to learn about her favorite spots to run in NYC and her goals for the race this year!

Why did you decide to run the 2023 United Airlines NYC Half? Have you participated in long races in the past?

I was signed up to run the 2020 United Airlines NYC Half, but it was canceled due to the pandemic. It has been weighing on me that I wasn’t able to run it and now that I am recovered from a knee injury, I needed to accomplish this goal. I ran the Brooklyn Half last year and while it was a lot of work and the race was HOT, it was beyond worth it. I am so excited to be running the NYC Half this year and cannot wait to hear everyone cheering in NYC! 

What is your connection to PAWS NY? Why is this cause important to you?

Animals have always been so important to me. I think the connection between humans and pets is vital and such an amazing part of life. PAWS NY is such an amazing organization that is able to help those who are in danger of losing their animals for either financial or physical reasons and I am honored and inspired to be part of that charge.

Do you have any pets of your own? Did you grow up with pets?

I grew up with two dogs and they made my childhood so rich. I do not have pets right now, but my husband and I dogsit all of our friends dogs which is probably our favorite thing to do. We will eventually (fingers crossed) get our own pup over the next few years!

How long have you been running? What are some of your favorite places to run?

I’ve been running seriously since 2019, but had to take some time off in 2020 due to a knee injury. I love running in Central Park – the hills are challenging (hello Harlem Hill!) and I love feeling the heartbeat of the city. There are also always people there cheering you on or fellow runners that help inspire and push you to keep going. I LOVE seeing parents running with their animals and/or their running strollers – such an inspiration! 

What do you do in your free time (besides run)?

I love working out, especially Tracy Anderson (the only other workout that I do besides running), dog sitting, and going to concerts! 

Share 2-3 fun facts about yourself! What should we know?

  1. I got married in December 2022, and just got back from my honeymoon which was in South Africa and Mozambique. A big part of our trip was a safari, which was an incredible experience. 
  2. I am a certified fitness instructor and used to teach a cardio boxing class! 
  3. I work at Estee Lauder Companies for the amazing, global brand Clinique. 

What are your goals for this race?

I would love to run the race in 2 hours flat. I ran the Brooklyn Half in 2:03, and I would love to shave off those 3 minutes. Not sure if I can hit it due to the hills and overall complexity of the course, but fingers crossed! 

We’re so excited to cheer you on, Marisa, and know you can reach your two-hour goal! 

Click here to donate to Marisa’s fundraising page and support the other runners on Team PAWS NY!