By Libertad González
Boyle Heights Beat
On Sunday, March 18, I lined up with my family for the fourth year in a row at the starting line of the LA Marathon, ready to run the 26.2 miles from the Dodgers Stadium to Santa Monica.
I have an older brother currently attending CSULA, a younger sister in middle school and my parents, but aside from being a family we’re our own running team and, for as long as I can remember, we’ve been running together on the streets of my Boyle Heights community, in Griffith Park, and in the nearby mountains and forests. This year we ran our fourth LA Marathon together.
My family is well-known for running early in the morning around Evergreen Cemetery on César Chávez. At the beginning my mom would run on her own. ”I wanted to lose weight” she said, but the more frequently she ran she started to enjoy it more and more.
Both my parents started taking my siblings and I to run, mostly because they wanted to teach us about a healthy lifestyle. We started running more frequently and later one of my mom’s friends, Paty Morales, gave my mom the idea of running a marathon.
During the process of preparing for the marathon we visit new places, run the same courses and train together. The time and effort that goes behind the training creates a better relationship and bond between our family. “It help form a stronger bond as a family because we’re a team, not just family we’re a team now.” explains my mom “We train together on early morning, we encourage each other to accomplish things, we share moments together.”
Running a marathon is challenging mentally and physically, but knowing my family was on the same course made it much more calming for me. The third marathon we ran together last year was my sister Veronica’s first, and it felt good knowing I finally had someone who could run at my pace and I could enjoy the course with. It was fun knowing I got to bond with her the whole way, especially on Hollywood Blvd, mile 13 through 15, seeing all the attractions and taking pictures with the Hollywood Walk of Fame stars and the actors’ handprints outside the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
Some parents would not be as supportive of their daughters or any female in sports, or would just be doubtful of their success as part of an athletic lifestyle. For my dad, Horacio González, gender is not something he believed would stop us from accomplishing something.
“Ever since you were kids you demonstrated to finish activities that you started and I always saw that you guys were capable,” he said.
It was nice knowing you were able to accomplish something you trained for with your family and accomplishing a really big goal you set for yourself. It’s nice participating in an event where more than 500,000 runners gather from all over the country and even outside places like Mexico, Costa Rica and Brazil. Learning to maintain a healthy lifestyle is one of the goals my parents hope to teach us with the involvement in these events. “Hopefully when you have families you can create this kind of bond and allow them to also enjoy these kinds of activities.” my dad told me.
For this year’s big race my family and I trained for more than six months, following small goals with working towards a bigger goal. “I feel proud and happy” my mom told me, ”because I think it’s my responsibility to keep you guys involved and it keeps us connected as a family.”
This year I ran with the time of 5 hours and 10 minutes, which was faster than my marathon last year but slower than my fastest marathon of 3 hours and 57 minutes.
My parents have told me they will continue to run as many marathons as they can, so maybe next year you’ll line up at the Dodgers Stadium and see my family together again, ready to finish another LA Marathon.
Libertad Gonzalez is a senior at Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School. She enjoys photography, reading and writing. She will be attending San Francisco State University as a Photojournalism major and hopes to take part in the Spanish-language journalism class. @librtty on Instagram and Twitter.