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!


Blogger robert smith said...

I saw you your crew go by me up Mt. San Antonio (Baldy) yesterday. It was a pleasure to meet two of you and chat briefly.

Robert in the Kilt

7:16 AM


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