Saturday, May 11, 2013


By Gilbert Varela

I can only guess the thrill and excitement of finishing in the top 10. Your name is posted in the leaderboard, a top medal is awarded, and a life long memory of that event is chiseled safely in your being - always a happy memory of a great personal accomplishment. This is the way it is for Wild Mountain Runner, Oswaldo Hurtado who finished 10th overall at the Orange County Marathon on May 5th. Oswaldo, 39 years of age, came in first in his age division, finishing with a personal best of 2:38:18.

Oswaldo's first competitive run was the in 1998 when he finished with a 2:59 at the Los Angeles Marathon. He continued to run a series of marathons in the early 2000s, always trying to improve his time in the Los Angeles Marathon. He vaccilated between the 2:50s and 2:40s but could not break into the 2:30s. "I didn't run 5ks or 10ks", he recalls in a chuckling voice. "I did things backwards running marathons before running shorter runs." At the 2004 San Diego Rock 'N Roll Marathon he finished in 2:54 and at the 2005 Long Beach Marathon he finished with a 2:42. Still, Oswaldo was not able to break out of the 2:40s

Oswaldo describes joining the Gatos while running at South Gate Park, a favorite training ground and watering hole for the South Gate Gatos and Gatas. There he met the South Gate crowd of runners. Friendly faces and years of running experience surrounded him. He also met Francisco "Paco" Licea, who Oswaldo warmly calls Paquito. Paco Licea is the elder Gato of WMR and has miles and miles of running experience. "Paquito became my coach and he gave me a training program for the marathon", said Oswaldo. Oswaldo describes feeling down and then tells how he found motivation at the hands of Coach Paco. "I needed a push and Paquito gave me a program. This gave me motivation", said Oswaldo as he reflected on his training regimen. 

Under coach Paco's guidance, Oswaldo started training three months before the Orange County Marathon. He trained from Monday to friday, with speed workouts on Tuesdays and Fridays. Speed workouts included three 5 mile repeats at a 5:15 minute pace with 3 minute rests between. He did his distance training at Griffith Park, saving his 22 to 28 mile runs for Angelus Crest. 

Although, Oswaldo is a marathoner, he has ran 15:45 in the 5k, a 33:24 10k in 2010 at Brentwood and a 1:14 at the 2010 Rock 'N Roll half marathon. Although running is now his sport, he considers himself a good competitive cyclist and soccer player.

Married to his wife Alejandra for 16 years and a father of a 10 year old boy and a 15 year old daughter, Oswaldo understands how he must balance family quality time with quality training. "I love to run", said Oswaldo. "I sacrificed some family time because of my running. I said to my wife that it is good and it is a healthy thing to do. I feel strong". He tweaks and twists the time of day to reach a family-running balance . Oswaldo describes how he even leaves work an hour earlier so that he could balance family time with running. "I would leave work early to be able to train and then pick up my daughter, who is also a runner in high school", said Oswaldo.

Oswaldo will soon be leaving the 35 to 39 age category and a new competitive focus will begin. With his strong love of running, support from the Gatos and Gatas, and of course, support from family, Oswaldo will continue to add great running accomplishments to his store of memories. Congratulations Oswaldo!

Sunday, March 24, 2013


By: Gilbert Varela

48 year old Wild Mountain Runner, Ruperto Romero needed one mile to cross the finish line of the grueling 2012 Angelus Crest 100 mile ultra marathon.   It took many miles of experience to bring Ruperto to the 99th mile of this most exclusive contest.  He began his quest in 2004, when he ran in the Los Angeles Marathon.  Since then, he has run 20, some under 3 hours, including a 2:55.43 in 2012 and 2:49.22 in this year’s  L.A. Marathon.  But to Ruperto, 26 miles was not enough. “I felt 26 miles was too little”, said Ruperto.  So he began running in 50K and 50 mile ultra runs. He has placed in the top 10 in several 50k and 50 mile ultras.  He finished 2nd in the 2009 Mt. Disappointment 50 miler.  No all ultras have turned out well for Ruperto.  To him, dropping out at 80 miles in a Texas 100 mile ultra was a disappointment.  “I was not mentally prepared for this run”, said Ruperto.  It would seem that completing 80 miles should be a triumph in itself!

This was the last mile of the AC 100.  For Ruperto and the remaining 71 other unique group of runners, each mile of trails and dirt roads had been an enormous test of will and physical strength.   In the darkness and stillness of the night, he knew that he was in third place.  At 2 a.m., in a sudden turn, darkness gave way a little and 100 meters ahead he saw the great ultra marathoner George Pacheco surrounded by his support group of runners.  A sense of joy engulfed him as he sensed that he could overtake Pacheco.  “I gave it everything in me but could not catch him”, said Ruperto with a resigned smile.   In the end, Chris Price finished first with a 19:46:06, George Pacheco second with a 21:12.13, followed by Ruperto, with what could be called an ultra marathon photo finish with a 21:12.27 – 14 seconds behind Pacheco!  Ruperto feels that he can win the AC 100 this year.  The slight bodied Ruperto exudes a mixture of self confidence and humility with good reason.  After all, he is an experienced ultra marathoner, having finished 6 of the 7 100 mile ultras that he has competed in. He knows the AC 100 course well.  In 2011, he finished second with a 21:33.5; third in 2010 with a 21:25.2.  In 2010, George Pacheco was second, ahead of Ruperto by two minutes. eight in 2008; seventh in 2007; and seventh again in 2006. 

The AC 100 will  take place August 3, 2013.  The Race begins in downtown Wrightwood and ends at Johnson’s Field in Pasadena.  Joining Ruperto will  be Wild Mountain Runner, 52 year old Jaime Ortiz, a great competitor and experienced ultra marathoner in his own right.   Both Ruperto and Jaime will face off against 174 other ultras. At the start line will be George Pacheco and several other expectant front runners.  It will be a meeting of distance running Titans battling each other for this year’s AC 100 top honor. 

The Griffith Park Trail Marathon Relay

Register Here:

Calling all Gatos! L.A., South Gate, Highland Park, Sylmar, Van Nuys, Philippines,  Michoacan Mexico, Cuba, and Tijuana.

NOW is the time to start getting a team together for the The Griffith Park Trail Marathon Relay , which raises funds to benefit our own Backyard."Parque Griffith”

Let's take it back like the old days

Sunday, June 23, 2013 from 7:00 AM to 12:00 PM (PDT)

Looking back to Wild Mountain Runner history, this article by Roberto Perez appeared in the December 1989 WMR Newsletter.

On November 22nd, the Wild Mountain Runners placed seven runners in the top 30 slots at the Arturo Barrios Reebok Invitational.  Despite the rain and cold morning, Javier Perez led the Wild bunch with an outstanding time of 31:03, which is an average of 5:03 per mile and was good enough for an overall 3rd place finish.  Carlos Navarro finished 4th with a time of 31:24 and Roberto “El Chino” Rodriguez finished 7th with a time of 31:49.

Leading in the second pack of Lions was Master runner Steve Keyes.  He crossed the finish line with a time of 33:22 and was the first Master runner overall.  Hot on Steve’s heels were Pepe “El Brochero” Gomez and Joel Sanchez with times of 33:30 and 33:24, respectively.  German Alonso was right there with Pepe and Joel with an equally impressive time.  German, who has been coaching many of the Wild Mountain Runners at the Cal State L.A. track, accomplished what he had said he would do, which was to break 34:00.

Salvador Arellano completed the course in 34:07.  He said that he was disappointed with his performance, but considering that he was fighting a bad cold, he did remarkably well.  Faustino “El Cuete” Campos proved to Gilbert “4-Mile” Varela that he is a force to be reckoned with by almost ousting Gilbert and finishing in 35:31, which was only a second slower than Gilbert’s time.  I myself ran the race in 36:16, which is the fastest 10K I’ve done in a long time.  To everyone, CONGRATULATIONS!

Wednesday, March 06, 2013


Jose Guadalupe Ramirez, a faithful member of the South Gate Wild Mountain Runners, once belonged to a championship running team.   In the early 1990s, he was a member of the Huntington Park High School cross country team.  Under the skillful tutelage of Coach Guajardo, his team won the Los Angeles City cross country championship and went on to compete in the State CIF Championships.   Then Jose stopped running.  17 years passed before he would run again.  By then Jose topped 209 pounds on the bathroom scale.   “I then began running just to lose weight”, Jose said.  Then running  became more than just running to lose weight, he increased the running distance.  He set new goals:  To run a marathon.  Then running a marathon was not enough.  Now Jose challenge himself to break 3 hours.

As long a time period that it took Jose to get back to running, he made it up by getting back to running form in record time.  He started just over a year and a half ago and already he has three 5ks, two half marathons and five marathons in his pocket.   Oh yes, he set one other goal:  To run the Boston Marathon - a marathoner’s dream.   He will run Boston this year, qualifying for this classic run with a 3:02:55 at the 2012 Orange County Marathon. 
Last Sunday, Jose ran the Napa Valley Marathon.  Jose broke his personal record – the 3 hour time barrier – completing the 26.2 mile course in 2:56:47.  WMR was there to help a fellow Gato as Rene and Ramon help Jose maintain a pace at each marathon half. But when it all came down to it, it was all up to Jose to do what he had to do.  Jose said that he prepared for four months, reaching 85 miles per week and giving himself very little rest.  The week before Napa, Jose ran 11 miles at a 6:35 pace!

Jose credits the team for his accomplishments, mentioning among others, the “3 Js”: Julio, Jaime and Jesse as mentors and training partners.  He also thanked his wonderful girlfriend Beida.  Beida runs and acts as an energetic cheerleader for him and the team.  Last, Jose described Napa Valley Marathon as relatively flat and very scenic.  For those who like wine, they had wine tasting at the expo and gave out a lot of goodies.  Congratulations to you and South Gate Gatos and Gatas.   


"Jose credits the team for his accomplishments, mentioning among others, the “3 Js”: Julio, Jaime and Jesse as mentors and training partners"


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Jaime Ortiz and Roberto “El Chino” Rodriguez Excel in Santa Monica – by Gilbert Varela

Here is an article from the September 1990 Wild Mountain Runner Newsletter. The article proves that the club has always had spirit: 

I am convinced that there is no other running club with the character and color as the Wild Mountain Runners.  I am more convinced that no other club has the combination of character and talent as our club.  But who can best reflect the character of Wild Mountain but Jaime Ortiz and Roberto “El Chino” Rodriguez.On Saturday, the day before the running of the Santa Monica Marathon, Jaime had trained hard under the tutelage of Coach Alonzo.  Any one who knows Jaime knows he always trains hard.  Even during the easy workouts, he manages to get the most out of himself.  The week before Santa Monica, Jaime had run the San Diego Half Marathon and was expected to run Santa Monica at an easy pace.  So Saturday he trained hard and on Sunday he placed fourth with a personal best time of 2:38.  Jaime showed a great deal of heart and strength – proving that this is how a Gato can run.El Chino is another example of the wild Mountain psyche.  When El Chino joined the club, he was just a “regular” runner of “average” talents.  Determined to do well, he started to train regularly and never missed a track workout.  In fact Coach Alonzo constantly prodded him for training better than he competed.  He managed to lower his running time from a 16 minute 5K to the low 15s.  He persevered until he finally broke his own 15 minute barrier, running a 14:54 at the Brentwood 5k.  then comes the Santa Monica Half Marathon and El Chino placed third overall with a fabulous time of 1:09 – a personal best!El Chino has worked hard and has not allowed various “bad” race results to discourage him.  Instead he trained consistently, knowing that at some race it would all pay off.Congratulations to Jaime and Roberto “El Chino”.  Also congratulations to Dino Longo for his 3:07 marathon.  Dino is one of the few who loves the Santa Monica Marathon and is looking to break the 3 hour barrier in the next marathon.  Dino stated that he knew what to expect the second time around the loop.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Apache Run - Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 9:30 a.m.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

AC100 Conejos - mile 52-75 Julio and mile 75-100 (finish) Jessee

Julio "JJ" Jaramillo

Monday, August 06, 2012

Jaime AC100 mile 52

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Sourth Gate Gatos do OC Marathon. Congrats!

Meet our new South Gate Gato Jose (Yellow Shirt) . Congratulations! And of course we already know Julio on the left, Jaime, Galito and Coach Paco.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Los Angeles River 5K FUN RUN Date:May 6, 2012 Time: 7:30am

Now we all know for many, many years that L.A. River has been part of the WMR’S training grounds. For some of the VERY local runners, there’s a portion of the L.A River where we train for speed, agility, and quickness. We’ve even spotted numerous elite runners doing 2 , 3, and 5 mile repeats as part of their normal workouts at the bike path. If you are a member of the Wild Mountain Runner Club or just love our L.A. River, you must run this race. Support this good cause! For only $15.00 bucks,you get medal, a shirt and a goodie bag filled with lots of fun swag. Cheap!

Registration & Bib Pick-up is going to be at A Runner’s Circle Running Shop on May 4, 5 & 6, 2012. All donations will proceed to the the LA River and its foundations that preserve her.

BENEFACTORS: LA River Revitalization Corporation and Friends of the Los Angeles River.


P.S. Special hydration station for all Gato members to be announced.

Monday, November 14, 2011


October 28, 1950 – October 8, 2011

By: Gilbert Varela

Claudia Morales, one of the Wild Mountain Runners most accomplished female runner, passed away October 8, 2011. Claudia was 27 years old when she started running. According to her ex-husband Humberto Morales, a member of the Gatos for over 25 years, Claudia quickly developed into a first rate runner. “She wanted to exercise so I took her running with me and within three months, she was running ahead of me”, said Humberto. Humberto brought Claudia to Griffith Park where they join the Wild Mountain Runners. “Claudia liked to compete against men” said Humberto. Before long she was beating some of the better male runners. She was known affectionately as La Huera. During the race the men runners would yell to each other “Hay biene La Huera!”. . .”Here comes La Huera!” Then she would wiz by bearing an impish smile of satisfaction.

At the 1986 Mexico City marathon, Claudia placed third overall amo

ng females with a time of 2:53. She eventually hit a 2:47 time at the Los Angeles Marathon. In the early 90s Claudia missed breaking one hour by less than a minute at the “Run Across LA” 10 mile run. At the Heart of “The Run Across LA” 5K run, she timed at 18:20. Claudia pretty much stopped running competitively when she returned to school. She received a degree in Administration of Justice from Pasadena City College. She worked in the correctional field for many years.

Claudia was as much a great runner as a wonderful mother and g

randmother. Claudia loved competitive running, but she loved her family much more. She is survived by her ex-husband of many years, Humberto Morales, her son Aquiles, daughter Jacqueline, and three grandchildren. We will miss you Claudia. Rest in Peace.

A memorial was held at 9 am Griffith Park across from the ponies parking area.



Thursday, November 03, 2011

Attention all Gatos, Gatas, Family and Friends.

As you may already know, Claudia Morales passed several weeks ago. Claudia is Humbero Morales's ex-wife. She ran for the Wild Mountain Runners from the mid 80s to mid 90s (maybe more) She was an accomplished runner, running under 2:50 in the LA Marathon and blazing through the 10 mile run in less than 61.5 minutes. A memorial will be held for her this Sunday, Nov. 13 at 9 am Griffith Park across from the ponies parking area. Just low key runners get-together in memory of Cluadia.

Feel free to bring a little something to share.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Lake Tahoe Marathon - Congratultions Gatos Jesse Gallito 1st Place Overall Marathon, Jame Ortiz 3 Place Overall 72 Miler and Julio Jaramillo finishing top 25

"lets do this!"

The 3 J's: Jesse, JJ and Jaime.


16th Lake Tahoe Marathon Week !!