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Running in her husband’s honor: Seana Arrechaga’s story

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On September 1, 2007, Seana married Ofren Arrechaga just 21 days after his third combat tour to Iraq. 11 months into his final tour, Ofren was killed during the 101st Airborne’s largest combat mission since Vietnam. At the young age of 22, Seana became a widow with two young children.

A year after her husband’s death, Seana attended the Nashville Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. She, along with her children, sat at mile 18 and watched a runner run that mile in Ofren’s honor. That precious memory sparked her journey with running in her husband’s memory.

After her husband’s passing, Seana connected with the Post 9/11 Gold Star community, which is made up of parents, children and siblings of the 6800+ soldiers that died in duty while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Because of this organization, Seana was able to connect with the family members who had lost loved ones and found herself with a support system of people who could help her heal. While visiting a fellow member of the Post 9/11 Gold Star community, she noticed a Medal of Honor that had been sent by Amy Cotta, who had run a race in her loved one’s honor.

Though she had always been the one on the side lines cheering up Ofren’s active endeavors, she found herself wanting to try one of these races. Later that day, she received an email from Amy Cotta asking her if she would like to be sponsored by her organization, Medals of Honor, to run the 5k at the Nashville Rock n’ Roll Marathon. Remembering the runner who ran in her husband’s honor, Seana said yes. This was the perfect race to start her running journey.

IMG_5816At first she regretted signing up since she had never considered herself to be an active person. However, Seana continued to push herself outside of her comfort zone throughout her training. She has prepared for the race by completing walk/run intervals in her Swiftwick socks and asked her mom to run the 5k, since she has always been one of her biggest encouragers.

Though Seana says Ofren would’ve laughed when she first told him about her decision, she knows he would’ve been her biggest motivator and most intense trainer. Since she has begun running, Seana has used running to relieve stress and says that it has made her days better. Since Ofren’s passing Seana chose to run, so she could push herself outside her comfort zone, realizing that we only have today.

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