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Meet Our United Airlines NYC Half Runners!

ExpandED Schools

On March 19, ExpandED Schools will be participating in the United Airlines NYC Half for the third year in a row, and we couldn’t be more excited!  

We are thrilled to introduce Gaby and Laura (who's also a Development Officer at ExpandED Schools!), this year's runners who have committed to raise funds to help close the learning gap, all while training to run an impressive 13.1 miles. 


Gabriela Ponce

Gaby Giralt

Why do you run?

GABY GIRALTI run to feel empowered and strong, to feel able and enjoy the gift of a healthy mind and body. To meditate and breathe.

LAURA LARIMERRunning is a regular part of my life and a way to stay connected to my father, who ran every day. I enjoy running because there are always new challenges—physical and mental—no matter how long or how far I’ve run in the past. Meeting each new challenge and persisting is a rewarding experience. It’s also an important value that I try to model for my kids, and an example of the values that ExpandED Schools instills in its students.

Have you run long races before? Which ones?

GGI have done a series of half marathons, including all the 5 boroughs and the NYC marathon.

LLSince I started running seriously about 10 years ago, I’ve run 13 half-marathons and 2 NYC marathons.

Why are you running for ExpandED Schools?

GG: I believe that children all deserve to be educated and have the right to learn and grow. Our future depends on education, it open doors and brings us together. 

LLI am running for Team ExpandED Schools to highlight the importance of our work to ensure that all kids, in every zip code, have opportunities to discover their talents and develop their full potential—whether in book club, a robotics class, on the stage or on the field. 

Laura Larimer

Laura Larimer

What was the most meaningful or impactful education experience you had as a kid?

GGAs an art student, I took a class called "Alternative Thinking." I learned there is ALWAYS a new way to look at something, be it people, situations—anything. You can always see something in a way you haven't before. 

LLGrowing up, I was someone who enjoyed school and always did well, without trying too hard. I didn’t give much thought to learning until I had a Calculus teacher who taught in a totally different way from previous teachers. I was completely confused and lost, and didn’t have the graphing calculator I was supposed to have for the first semester like everyone else. What I learned through some very frustrating months was that being good at something comes from working hard to figure it out. So I worked hard and by the end of the year I had the top grades in the class. 

What's your running inspiration?

GGMusic is what moves me. I run to songs that tell stories that remind me to strive to always grow, to push myself and to also take the time to look around and enjoy the moment.  

LLI always listen to music—high tempo, motivating tunes—but lately I’ve also unplugged and cut out the distractions. Running time for me is an opportunity to work through the thoughts in my head and reach a calm state of mind.

Support our runners by making a donation on our fundraising page here!





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