Years of Running: 3.5 years
What's the hardest part of the sport? "Getting up early in the morning when it's still dark and my bed so warm. That's my battle."
What do you like most about running? "I used to be a club bouncer and would see runners going by as I was letting people exit SPACE. We would comment: 'What crazy people'! Now I am one of those crazy people...AND LOVE IT.
" I'm not sure who said this but he's right: If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward."
Just 4 years ago, Felipe was not worrying about getting his bike tuned up for this weekend's ESCAPE festivities nor was he debating whether or not to race the New Balance Mile (hosted by IRUN) the day after having just completed in an Olympic distance triathlon. He instead was sitting in his apartment overlooking Margret Pace Park wondering if it was even humanly possible (at least for him) to swim from that island (ESCAPE ISLAND) he could see off shore to the mainland, knowing that even the thought of walking from the apartment lobby to the water's edge would get him winded, so running to the waterfront wasn't even an option.
Weighing in at about 267lbs, never having been very athletic, and heavy set his whole life (which was about the only thing that RAN in his family--pun intended), doing something like the ESCAPE TO MIAMI TRI wasn't even in contention for a slot on his weekend's agenda.
It would be until he witnessed how his uncle's obesity led to a deterioration of his quality of life, dependency on family members around, loss of eye sight, diabetes, and eventual passing due to a heart attack at the age of 60 that reality would settle in: if he didn't take charge of his life and turn his health around, his destiny could mimic that of his uncle's.
Not really knowing what to do, he got into what he thought was "athletic attire" and headed out on a run he still remembers to this day as vividly as if it was yesterday. He recalls feeling like he was dying; pains everywhere, inability to breath, taste of blood in throat, heart pumping harder than it ever had. He ran until he could not take a single step more only to find that he had barely completed 2 miles.
"You won't reach goals that you don't set for yourself."
"A goal is a dream with a finish line."
Now, 3.5 years after he began running, his weekly schedule involves participating in IRUN Monday workouts, at least one RUN CLUB run, and some sort of long run on the weekend with the additional mountain biking, land paddling, open water swim, and diving adventures sprinkled in as well. He now has more veins in his arms and legs (that he proudly bares like combat medals) and his body has completely transformed. His agility, mental toughness, and overall stamina have increased dramatically as well. Most importantly he has developed a heart of STEEL! A heart that can keep up with his new life, and a heart that is thankful for the opportunity to wake up each morning.
Though he doesn't know what the future has in store for him, or when his heart will stop pumping( like the rest of us), he knows that he wants to go out running....running hard!
Felipe is just one of the many runners here in Miami that make up the "WE" in "We Run Miami". We have so much to gain as runners and people from characters like Felipe, who have stopped making excuses, have taken their HEALTH into their own hands--choosing the harder, yet more rewarding, path to a better future, and are reaping the amazing benefits that this sport has to offer. Instead of letting the opportunity run by you, get a chance to know more about the people that run around you! You never know what they may contribute to your life and what you unknowingly may contribute to theirs as well!