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"