NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Physics teacher Yevgenya "Jenny" Salerno is running the TCS New York City Marathon this year because she can.
Salerno was born in Ukraine and takes nothing for granted.
"I remember growing up in a one-room apartment. One room. Kitchen beds, living room was all in same place," she said.
At four years old, Salerno's family came to America, a place her parents knew would be far more fair and unbiased.
"People who were Jewish were shunned often," Salerno recalled. She was told to never take opportunities for granted and to always try her best.
Salerno graduated third in her high school class of 1000 students, then magna cum laude from NYU.
Now, she's Ms. Salerno and these days, she is one of the most interesting high school physics teachers around.
TCS Team Teachers picked her and 49 other teachers out of hundreds who applied to run. So, running the marathon is also an honor.
Salerno's students have no idea how their teacher does so many things so well.
"She's one of the most caring teachers I know," one of her students said.
Salerno explains the marathon is another challenge for her. As a mom of two with a husband in medical school, her "me time" is running short.
"When I run, I bring my phone for music. No one can contact me. I give so much to everyone the rest of the day, I really need that," she said.
Each step of Salerno's life, she has promised her parents she would make the most of everything. Whether for work or fun, running is something that makes her proud.