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My first race: in honor and memory of my husband

Ofran Arrechaga crop

Swiftwick athlete Amy Cotta ran along Seana in combat boots in honor of Seana’a husband SFC Ofren Arrechaga

Post by: Seana Arrechaga. 

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to think at all going into my first 5k. There is something about running for fun that has always made me cringe. Yeah, I’m one of those “if you see me running, you better run faster because something is chasing me” types. I’m willing to try anything once though, so when Medals of Honor and Swiftwick teamed up to sponsor me to run in honor of my late husband, SFC Ofren “AC” Arrechaga, KIA 29 March 2011, Kunar Province, Afghanistan, I figured there was no better reason to pop my 5k cherry.


I had been to the Country Music Marathon before to cheer on my husband’s brothers-in-arms, but I had no idea what to expect as a participant. I started training in January but wasn’t nearly as gung-ho as I should have been. So when race day came, I was terrified.

I quickly learned I didn’t need to be. There were tons of people just like me who weren’t the fastest or fittest. The atmosphere was electric, and everyone was just happy to be there.

What really hit me was seeing the St. Jude kids along the way. They were a stark reminder of how lucky I truly am. I may have suffered the debilitating loss of my husband to war, but my son is healthy, and for that I am grateful. At one point towards the end of the 5k, a runner stopped and asked a woman holding a picture of her son if she could give her a hug. The tears were instant and contagious. I don’t think I will ever be able to forget that moment.

The entire experience was humbling. Not only did it give me a reason to become active again, it reminded me that everyone has a story and a struggle.

Here comes the words no one who knows me will believe until there is photographic evidence – I’ll be participating in my second 5k Memorial Day weekend. It’s amazing what a little nudge out of nowhere can do for the body and the soul.

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