BOSTON (WHDH) - Sailaja Joshi is gearing up for the Boston Marathon, heading out to Heartbreak Hill for one of her final long runs before the big day.

“I was like it could be like this on race day, so good thing you’re going out there,” she said.

Sailaja is running as part of the Boston Athletic Association’s new Boston Running Collaborative, which formed last year and is aimed at supporting diversity in running.

She said the collaborative has been a major part of her preparing for the marathon.

“It’s transformational to see Black and brown women who look like me, feel like me, who felt excluded like me to create a community of belonging,” she said.

Sailaja got involved with the group Black Girls Run during the pandemic and met her new training buddy, Antonia Finley.

Finley said the visibility of getting out there and running in her community has already had an impact.

“I always want people to see, oh if she can do it, then I can too,” she said. “As we run through the community, people look, people honk, they roll their windows down and say hey i need to get out there with you guys!”

And now, finding a diverse community in the sport has spurred Sailaja to enter not one, but two marathons this year.

The Boston Marathon is slated for April 17.

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