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Haskins PK-8 paraprofessional puts best foot forward at London Marathon

(LONDON – May 11, 2023) – Running through the streets of London, Don Haskins PK-8 School’s Cristina Sedeno Manjarrez blew past historic landmarks while chasing her dream of completing six major marathons.

Sedeno Manjarrez’s trip across the pond brought her closer to completing all six of the major marathons – London, Tokyo, Boston, Berlin, Chicago and New York. She only lacks New York and Tokyo. This year, she’s planning to run the New York Marathon, Mexico City Marathon and Pikes Peak Marathon (trail run).

“This is one of my biggest dreams to run all six majors, and I hope to accomplish it,” said Sendeno Manjarrez, an early childhood paraprofessional. “When you finish the six of them, you'll get a medal representing the six cities.  For me personally, the most important thing is that you will also be part of the Hall of Fame and with an international ranking.”

Sedeno Manjarrez beat a few obstacles on her way to London including a canceled flight and many delays. Regardless, she would make the best of it by running and sightseeing with her daughter.

“During the countdown to the start of the race and the first mile, I couldn't stop crying because I was able to be there, and I only thought about how nothing is going to stop me,” she said. “I just ran without the pressure of a time goal. There were 48,500 runners and the organization was extraordinary – beyond my expectations. The crowds were amazing, and the volunteers were kind and respectful.” 

Sedeno Manjarrez posted a respectable 4:10:02. Her fastest marathon clocked in at 3:37 hours and qualified her for the Boston Marathon, which she will be running in 2024. She trains at least five days a week with her running group dedicating weekdays to shorter runs and weekends to longer distances.

“I enjoy how I feel when I am able to keep up the pace and I feel like I can run like that for a long time. It is something that keeps me motivated to continue to grow and it's taught me nothing is impossible,” she said. “I'm amazed at what my body can do, and how powerful the mind can be. I like taking on the barriers that I need to overcome to finish a marathon. My mind is stronger every time I cross that beautiful finish line.”

Running is a more recent passion for Sendeno Manjarrez. She started running eight years ago in her early 40s to live a healthier lifestyle and prevent the diabetes diagnosis that runs in her family. She ran her first full marathon in six hours and was hooked.

“The first time I went out to run I could barely run a half a mile and as soon as I got home, I started looking for a book on how to start running,” she said. “At the beginning, I couldn’t run 6 miles in less than 60 minutes, let alone win a race. After I joined my running club, my life changed. I learned to be disciplined, to have the courage to go beyond my limits and to be consistent.”

Now the two-time Boston Marathon qualifier has achieved feats she never thought possible, including slashing her marathon time by 2 hours and 23 minutes.

“With a lot of effort, sacrifice, discipline, I was able to cut down my time of a marathon during the years,” she said. “I realized if I'm capable of reaching beyond my expectations, anyone can do it, too. I especially want to demonstrate to my daughters that no one can tell you, ‘you can't.’ Only you have the control of your legs, heart and mind. The sky is the limit. Only you decide if you want to get there or not.”