When and why did you start to run?
I have loved running ever since I was in primary school. Although I call Toronto home now, I was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. I started running because I come from a family where sport is the most important thing, it’s what brings our family together. One of my brothers was a professional runner in high school and I followed his path. He was the one who encouraged me to run. I still remember my first competition when I was 8 years old. I just tried it for the first time and luckily, I ended up winning the race. If my memory serves me right, it was 1K race. After that competition, my school’s track coach asked me if I wanted to continue running and represent the school. I still remember to this day, that I did not think twice about it, since I was “crazy” about soccer and running at the time. From then on, I ran various races competing with other schools in the city where I usually had fun and performed quite well for the school.
When did you consider yourself a runner?
When I was 14, I decided to train 7 days a week with my running coach. From then on, I started to take running more seriously and I became specialist in the 1,500m and 5,000m. My best result was 6th place in the whole city and I qualified for the provincial competition of 5,000m. When I finished high school, I stopped running and began focusing more on my studies. But I ended up joining the university soccer team, which meant keeping up with sports, but I had decided to put running on the side lines. My study and sport life was great but I knew deep down that running was still a big passion of mine.
At the end of 2013, I decided to move to Toronto. I assumed that running wouldn’t be a part of the culture in Canada because of the weather, but what a wonderful surprise I had when I noticed that running was actually a big part of the city (at least in the area where I lived – Yonge and Eglinton). I wondered why there were so many runners around, then I discovered the Running Room. So, I decided to join a clinic, and after many years of being away from running, I decided to run a half marathon. After that race experience in May of 2014, I couldn’t stop running. It became my medicine and therapy again. Since entering into the running world again, I have done 2 half marathons, one 30K and one full marathon.
What has running taught you?
Running has taught me 2 main things. The first being that discipline is the basis for everything, and the second, is that every person has their own pace in life and that the competition, in the end, is always with yourself.
What crews do you run with in the city?
The people who go to the Running Room are amazing people. Those individuals are extremely passionate about their goals and competing against themselves – something that I really love and admire. During one of my Running Room training runs, I met a very good friend of mine that today, I now call my best running partner ever. We wake up 3 or 4 times a week early in the morning, and meet between her place and mine (roughly a 1km distance). When we wake up at 5:40am, we send a text to each other to make sure that the other person is IN. Having someone who is counting on you is key for staying committed and accountable. This ensures we never miss a run, and yes, even in January and February.
During one of our morning runs together, we were running around and through the Casa Loma grounds when we were asked to take a picture of a crew that had just finished their workout. We took a picture and then left. Later that morning, by coincidence, the photo I had taken was posted on Instagram, and because I liked the vibes of the crew, I sent a message to the organizer to ask how I could join. The answer? To show up the following Thursday in the same location at 6:30am. We decided to go, and since that day, we have been avid Castle Runners members, one of the best running crews in Toronto!
What have been your biggest accomplishments in running?
I have two moments where I have been the most proud of my running. The first was when I won the race in my primary school where I represented my school. The other time was last year when I finished my first full marathon – that was an unexplainable feeling.
Who or what inspires you?
I feel inspired by individuals who follow their intuition regardless of the obstacles or even circumstances that might distract you from your passion. In other words, I am inspired by people who choose to be happy and do what they love doing. I also really admire runners who compete in the Olympics, especially within the 5,000m and 10,000m races. Every time I run, I imagine that I am competing in the Olympics. It’s my way to keep my mind strong and add a bit of a competitive side to my running.
A final thought on running
Lately, I just have to say that I feel lucky to live in Toronto. It is a city that is perfect for running. It’s filled with trails, the air is clean and the vibes of its people who run are amazing. I feel lucky to be a part of it.
So why do I run? I run because after trying many things, I found running is what gives me peace in my mind.