My name is Emilio but my friends call me Milio. I'm from San Diego CA and I've been a runner for over 20 years. Most people say they hate running, but for me it is my therapy. Running is always the answer. When I'm happy, I run. When I'm angry, I run. When I'm sad, lonely, stressed, confused or feeling depressed, I run. It is my "me" time. My time to think without disturbance. My time to explore new places. My time to release energy when needed. It's my time to rock out to my favorite songs, gather my thoughts and just go. I can do it alone, or with friends. I can do it from home or on vacation. I can do it anywhere, at anytime for any reason. Running has taught me so much about motivation and commitment, determination and rewards. That is why I love it so much. It is a part of me. I see things like hills, mountains, bridges, streets, trails, beaches and parks and I think to myself, I want to run that. That is how I know it is in me. That is how I know I am a runner.
I originally grew up in a small farming town called Kerman in the Central Valley. Population about 7000 when I lived there in 1995. Second born in a family of 3, I am a first generation Mexican American. My father was a farm laborer, so growing up I was surrounded by grapevines, almond trees and a variety of different fruits and vegetables. My mother a social worker by day and super mom by night. Family was a major part of growing up. My passion for running began when I was young. I had always been the fastest when playing with my large extended family. As luck would have it, my small High School decided to add a cross country team, I knew I had to join. That experience so long ago started a passion that still burns strong after all these years.
I moved to San Diego at the age of 23 on the advice of my older sister. I immediately fell in love with the city. The sun was always out. The days were always warm. It was a runners paradise. It was then I thought about running my first marathon. I had always wanted to run a marathon, but in my mind it seemed impossible. Running 26.2 miles sounded ridiculous and crazy. However, that is what pushed me to want to do it more. It became both a challenge and a goal I had set to myself. I started asking around to my friends in the hopes that I could convince someone to do it with me. Surprisingly, I found 3 other amazing people who where just as crazy as me and up for the challenge. We trained together. Pushing, supporting and encouraging each other the entire 4 months of long, hard training. Then, on a warm day in June 2004 I ran my very first full marathon. I was so excited for the race I couldn’t wait to start. I had trained so long and hard for this. The feeling was unlike any I had before. The marathon was not easy however. My training had only taken me up to 20 miles. On race day, I still had to add an extra 6.2 miles to that. It was more challenging than I could have imagined. My legs were wobbly. My body was tired. My brain was telling me to stop. I wanted to stop. I started to doubt myself. What was I thinking? Why am I doing this? It was one of the toughest things I had ever done. Eventually, I crossed that finish line. I threw my hands up in the air and shed a few tears. Too exhausted and dehydrated to really let the tears come. But they were tears of joy. Happiness of my accomplishment and overjoyed with relief that I did it, and it was over. One by one we all crossed that finish line, and one by one we embraced each other feeling sore and beyond tired. But mostly, feeling proud.
Since then, I have ran a total of 3 full marathons and 45 half marathons. I never really thought I'd run another full. The time and commitment it took to train, along with the very mental and physical strain it brought upon me, I decided to stick to half marathons. When I first started running, I never imagined I’d run so much. Running was just something I used to do to have some “me” time and clear my mind. I looked forward to putting on my headphones and rocking out to some great music while loosing myself in my thoughts. Whatever was on my mind, by the end of my run I felt better.
Fast forward to 2018, I am now 40 years old. I'm happy, and life is just fine, but also, something is missing. I need some adventure. I need a challenge. I want more. And so I remembered about the feeling I got when I first decided to run 26.2 miles. The excitement it gave me back then when I knew I was going to do it. I thought to myself that maybe it was time for me to do it again, but this time I'll do it somewhere different. Somewhere far. Somewhere I haven’t been before. Fourteen years after my first full marathon I am ready to do it again. I started looking at marathons around the world. That's when I stumbled upon this small running club called The 7 Continents Marathon Club. Oh. My. God. This is it. This is what I have to do. My name has to be on that list. Only the elite and most adventurous run a marathon in each continent of the world, and I am going to be one of them. I got a rush of the same feeling I had when I heard my High School was adding a cross country team. Or when I finally realized I was going to actually run my first marathon in San Diego. My passion for running has been reignited and is back with a fury. I am re-energized and revitalized. I am going to do this.
I have been a runner for over 20 years and I have never heard of this club. My goal is not only to run a full marathon in all 7 continents of the world while representing the gay community's firght for equality. In some countries being gay is still crime. I want to show them that gay is normal and we too can be great athletes. I would also like to shed some light on this very elite club. Hopefully encouraging others to join it. I plan to announce all my future marathons on my website, Instagram and Facebook in hopes of encouraging others to join this club. I would love to have runners from all over the world meet me in the different continents and run a full marathon with me, 12 years after my last full marathon.
My name is Emilio, but you can call me Milio. I run marathons, and this is my run story part 2.
A teaser video for my news story on CBS
Check out this great video
Getting support from my niece and nephew
Thank you for all the love and support you have shown. I could not imagine my life without you.
My biggest fans. Your encouragement and endless support has pushed me beyond my own expectations. There are no words to express my love and gratitude for the both of you.
Chanda Iafrate, Nicole Crescenzi and Jon Reidenouer. Without the 3 of you, I may have never ran my first marathon. That experience so long ago has giving me a love for running and a friendship bond that will last a lifetime.
Nik, Jaime, Carlos, Brent, Colleen, Eric, Bob, Yessenia, Dino, Pepe and many others. Everyone of you has had a positive impact in my life. Running or social, you have all accepted me for the man I am and the man I am becoming. Thank you.
I'd like to thank Mike Forsher and Amanda Weiner for my amazing logo. Simon Andres for his photography. Jaime Arredondo for being my "editor." Amanda Brown with Platinum R.E. Professionals for sponsoring one of my marathons. Claire Latoures, for being my first donor and the only one to ever make me a sign for a race. Hardcore Fitness in San Diego for both my body and lifestyle transformations. Whisknladle Hospitality for the continued support.
Ryan Johnston, Jared & Caligh Nelson, Jen Brewton, Lilia & Carlos Ramirez. Eric Olimon, Lauren Kelly. Lauren Mae, Carlo Rodriguez. Justin Hockemeyer, Jeremy Christensen, Leevon Asadoorian, Guillermo Quintero, Chanda & Chad Iafrate, Nicole Crescenzi, Jon Reidenouer, Efren Garcia, Ana Olson, Nicole Weaver, Claire Latoures, Joe Herman, Kelsey Carrillo and Nathen Crockett