This is how I psych myself up for a marathon: reading about some awesome runners.
René Cuahuizo and Juan Jesús López
René and Juan are the only guys on this list who are not professionals or runners at the elite level. It doesn’t matter. They’re still fast and I still find their stories inspirational. Last year, René and Juan, were tapped to accompany Edison Peña, the Chilean miner known for running up to 6 miles a day while trapped in a mine, during the NY Marathon. Oh yeah, that was on a couple days’ notice. After the race, they still had to go to work at their respective restaurants. Who says Mexican immigrants don’t work hard?
Usually when I think of Chula Vista athletic standouts, I think of Little League teams that go on to the Little League World Series. Now I think of it as the place where Desi Davila was born and raised before going off to hone her skills as a runner at Arizona State. Desi Davila now lives in Michigan and trains with the Hanson-Brooks running team. In April, she was the female runner up at the Boston Marathon. Her 2:22:38 was the fastest ever by an American woman in Boston. Her time makes her the third fastest American woman in the marathon (behind Deena Kastor and Joan Benoit Samuelson).
I wrote the following in an old post about my memories of being in Mexico during the 2004 Olympics: In 2004, the hype was all about Ana Guevara, a sprinter favored to win the 400 meter dash. While out dancing one Friday night, everyone in the club stopped to watch one of the preliminary heats. Everyone cheered loudly and ordered celebratory shots when Ana won that heat. On the day of the final in 400 meter, my cousin woke me up cheers of “¡Vamos, Ana!” Almost all Olympics commercials featured Ana. It was pretty exciting. But Ana didn’t win gold, she won the silver.
Things I have in common with Leonel Manzano: roots in Guanajuato, we’re bilingual, he’s on Twitter and he wants to inspire youth to do their best. Differences: a bunch more. Leo made a name for himself winning a bunch of Texas state championships, then going on to University of Texas, Austin and being a standout there. In 2008, he represented the US in Beijing. He’s fast thanks to a lot of hard work and genetics. Leo is a small guy, but he has a large heart that can “pump more blood and oxygen to his muscles than most men his size” (NY Times). Leo’s personal best in the mile is 3:50:64.
We have the same surname and are both from the San Gabriel Valley. The similarities end there. Sylvia Mosqueda is a pro, I’m slow. She’s had a long career winning a 10,000 meters NCAA championsip (1988), qualifying for the Olympic trials several times, and winning or being the runner up for the USA half marathon title. Her personal bests are 10,000 meters is 31:54:03 (1996), 1:10:46 (2002) for the half marathon, and 2:44:47 (2002) in the marathon. Sylvia has also coached at the collegiate level. Once at a running store, the cashier asked Lori and me if we were related to Sylvia. We shook our heads no. If we were, we’d be a whole lot faster.
Arnulfo’s Quimare’s talent for distance running is documented in Christopher McDougall’s bestseller Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen. In McDougall’s first description of Quimare, he writes: “While searching for a guide, I’d learned that Arnulfo Quimare was the greatest living Tarahumara runner, and he came from a clan of cousins, brothers, in-laws, and nephews who were nearly as good.” He’s amazing and fast, holding his own agaist Scott Jurek, a top American ultramarathon runner, during the inaugural Copper Canyon Marathon organized by the book’s protagonist, Caballo Blanco. Read Born to Run, you’ll be inspired by Arnulfo’s humility and speed as well as by the Raramurí (aka Tarahumara), the Running People, who live in Chihuahua’s Copper Canyons. [Photo by Luis Escobar]
The USATF has a list of other Hispanic runners and coaches in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.
5 thoughts on “A Chicana’s running heroes”
I heard from a coworker the other day that Boxer Victor Ortiz trained and raced in a triathalon this year — even though he doesn’t swim well. He finished in the top 10, while dog-paddling the swimming part. Pretty good!
I still have to read Born to Run!
Manzano and Desi are awesome runners!
if you haven’t seen, and when you have a chance, a look at Manzano’s mile win at a UK meet earlier this summer.
(universal sports link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85AZgX3bpiI)
So inspiring! Thanks for sharing!
Speaking of the Tarahumara. All native americans have a rich running tradition. Don’t forget billy mills the only American to win 10000 meter gold. When I looked him up I was surprised he guy looked like he could be my uncle. Well he wasn’t white or black but a Sioux Indian… Cool. Chicanos or mestizos owe their running strength to their Native roots
Two other runners to add to your list:
Adriana Fernandez- She was the first Mexican woman to win the NYC marathon in 1999. She was and is one of my idols.
Zoila Gomez- She was 4th place at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials for the marathon. She also has a blog too.