/ Yeji Cha-Beach ’04 and BYSO’s Boston Marathon Debut

BYSO’s Marathoner

This year, CITGO generously provided BYSO with a bib for the 2024 Boston Marathon presented by Bank of America with the support of Sharon Durkan, Boston City Councilor District 8.

BYSO fielded applications from community members, and narrowed down a group of excellent candidates to ultimately select Yeji Cha-Beach, a 2004 (G)BYSO alumna. A passionate violinist, avid runner, mom of two, and a Music Associate Producer for Late Night With Seth Meyers, Yeji was overjoyed to be running her tenth marathon for an organization that has greatly shaped the adult she is today. In her words, it was a “dream come true to combine my passions for running and music in support of BYSO.”

When Yeji first joined (G)BYSO in high school, she had never played music in a group setting. Her violin practice was always solo. As she created music together with her peers for the first time at BYSO Camp in Maine, everything changed. She was able to form a deeper relationship with the music and people around her. 

Similarly, until recently, Yeji had never trained for a marathon with others, despite this being her 10th. Running with her group, the SOMA Fox Running Club in New Jersey, brought an exciting energy to her runs—just like in BYSO, they encourage and support each other through all the ups and downs, dramatically changing Yeji’s experience and outlook.

Yeji's running group

Today, Yeji sees the parallel between her passions for music and running: both are more powerful when done in unison.

Yeji and (G)BYSO friends on tour in 2003

“Running 26.2 miles with 25,000 other kindred spirits through the familiar streets of Boston, which I also had the privilege of doing in 2021, reminds me of my time with (G)BYSO–particularly everyone playing their own parts yet coming together as one. It’s fulfilling on a whole different level, learning from others and doing what we love together."

A Meaningful Race

The day before the Marathon, Yeji experienced a full-circle moment as she toured our new home, the BYSO Youth Center for Music! After hearing the sounds of our young musicians and seeing new and familiar faces, Yeji was even more proud to run on behalf of BYSO.

Running in Greater Boston is especially meaningful to Yeji, as it holds memories of her mother, who encouraged and motivated her throughout her musical journey. When Yeji started running, her mom offered the same abundance of support. Yeji’s mother passed away from cancer in 2017 but, her motivational spirit still guides Yeji forward in music, running, and life. “Every step of the way, she was my biggest supporter,” Yeji recalls, “and her encouragement sticks with me today.”

On April 15, Yeji’s family cheered her on along the way as BYSO community members gathered at CITGO’s One-Mile-To-Go Block Party. Mayor Michelle Wu even stopped by and signed a poster for Yeji! She finished the race in the grueling heat in 3 hours and 41 minutes. We’re so proud of you, Yeji!

Support BYSO’s own race to fundraising finish line by making a gift for BYSO Day here. All gifts are MATCHED dollar-for-dollar!
Yeji crossing the Finish Line