Why I’m Running: Arielle Mitropoulos is running Boston to honor her teacher, mentor, and friend

"She was truly like a second mother to me."

Arielle Mitropoulos.
Arielle Mitropoulos runs through the Wellesley College Scream tunnel with her field hockey teammates in 2016. –Courtesy

In our “Why I’m Running” series, Boston Marathon runners share what’s inspiring them to make the 26.2-mile trek from Hopkinton to Boston on April 16, 2018.

Name: Arielle Mitropoulos
Age: 21
From: Wellesley Hills
Bib #: 26410

My name is Arielle Mitropoulos, I am 21 years old, and I am from Cambridge. I am also currently a junior at Wellesley College.

In 2015, I ran my first Boston Marathon just two weeks after my 18th birthday, making me the youngest runner to complete the marathon that year. I grew up watching the marathon, and, as an athlete and a Bostonian, it became one of my biggest goals to complete Boston in my lifetime.

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In March of 2013, during my sophomore year of high school, my teacher, mentor, and friend, Mimi Minkoff, was diagnosed with liver cancer. From a young age, Ms. Minkoff was one of the most important and influential people in my life. She understood me in ways almost no one else could, and, for the many years I knew her, she offered me countless hours of support, laughter, and love. She was truly like a second mother to me. However, just four months after her diagnosis and going through treatment, she lost her battle in July of 2013 at just 52 years old.

Arielle Mitropoulos. —Courtesy

Since her passing in 2013, I have been determined to honor her memory. I knew I wanted to do something that would keep her legacy alive forever, so decided that once I was old enough, I would run the Boston Marathon in her honor. I thought it would be a great way to keep her spirit alive, all while raising funds for those who were still struggling with her same illness. Next month, I will run my fourth consecutive Boston for ALF, and, to date, I have raised almost $29,000 in Ms. Minkoff’s memory.

The Boston Marathon has not only changed my life, but it has truly become a key part of my identity. With every step I take, in training and on race day, I carry her with me, and that is why my marathon endeavors are called, “Miles for Mimi.”

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Check out our entire “Why I’m Running” series.

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Editor’s note: Entries may have been lightly edited for clarity or grammar.