Route J-1


New York City Marathon Will be a Lifelong Memory for Au Pair

Posted on Thursday, November 17th, 2016 at 9:31 pm.

By Victor Da Costa, J-1 au pair from Spain

Victor Da Costa shows off his New York City Marathon medal.

Victor Da Costa shows off his New York City Marathon medal.

The TCS New York City Marathon for me has been more than a race or just some other achievement. It was about coming back to New York, a city that was my home during my first year as an au pair. It is a city where I have some of the best of memories – my amazing host family, some great friends, and a lot of walks around the city.

I trained for the race in Seattle, Washington. This city was fantastic for training for this marathon because there are big hills, mountains, beautiful lakes and a lot of different outdoor activities that enticed you to go outside and run. It’s just you and the landscape. It works like magic. Training didn’t feel like training, but instead a chance to explore my surroundings and enjoy nature.

Victor Da Costa running the New York City Marathon

Victor Da Costa running the New York City Marathon

The night before the race I set-up two different alarms on each of my gadgets, which might sound funny. The main reason was daylight-savings time, where Americans turn back their clocks one hour. I didn’t want to oversleep that day.

Victor Da Costa running the New York City Marathon

Victor Da Costa giving high-fives while he runs

Before the race, I was excited with too many feelings going on at the same time. The good thing about that: I was full of energy to conquer the 26.2 miles running in the beautiful city of New York.

During the entire race, I saw friends, runners from my country, fellow au pairs, and a lot of different people working for Cultural Care Au Pair. All of them were there to support and cheer me on. Even though it was only for a short time, it gave me more energy to keep running and to conquer this long and tough test. Seeing supporters along the race course motivated me to keep running and look forward to seeing other people along the race course. With their support, the 26.2 miles felt relatively short — but it is still long.

Along the way, you run next to the New York City skyline. You see one of the photographers and give her a smile for the picture. You arrive at Central Park, and you know that the race is almost done. You cross the finish line and put your arms up in the air in memory of a person who is no longer with you, but was in your heart and thoughts through every step taken. All these different moments transform this race into a lifelong memory.

Victor Da Costa speaking at podium

Victor Da Costa shares his excitement about running the New York City Marathon at marathon welcome reception for J-1 volunteers

Categories: Program Spotlight

About G. Kevin Saba

Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange


G. Kevin Saba serves as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange at the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). In this capacity, he oversees the Exchange Visitor Program, which brings around 300,000 foreign citizens to the United States annually to teach, study, and build skills. He is the Director for the Policy and Program Support Division in ECA’s Office of Private Sector Exchange.

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