Monday 19th of February 2018 | Spanish | English

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“I’ve been running all my life in search of better opportunities,” says Ecuadorian Julio Sauce, one of the fastest nonprofessional distance runners in New York City. Born in Déleg, Ecuador, his first race was a 5k venture at the age of 18 during Déleg’s festival of cantonization. This event instilled a desire to keep running and exploring new opportunities outside of his country. He arrived to Brooklyn, New York at the age of 20 looking to continue pursuing his athletic dreams while improving his way of life.

His transition to the United States was far from easy. He had multiple night jobs and worked double shifts as a dishwasher just to make a living. As time went on Julio quickly realized he wasn’t making a life. He found refuge in the central park running trails, where he would run until he left all his stress on the track. There he met the West Side Runners group, one of New York City’s oldest fastest and most diverse running teams. This group of friends not only became his running mates but his support group in his transition process.

“Upon arriving to the United States, my inspiration to run my first New York City marathon came from seeing Mexican runner, German Silva, win the race on national television,” says Julio. Shortly after, he began training on his own whenever he had time to spare between his jobs. His first New York City Marathon was very tough as he didn’t get the results he wanted and felt mentally and physically defeated. However, after that race he decided to train constantly with the West Side Runners group where he met his Mexican coach and friend, Felipe Vergara, who not only mentored him throughout his training but also motivated him to not give up.

Julio’s running routine is based on consistent daily training running up to 80 miles per week. He focuses on developing long lasting endurance while improving his running speed. “You need to take things one step at a time,” says Julio, “you must develop your endurance before your speed or else you’ll burn out.” After years of dedication, sacrifice, and sweat, Julio’s big break came in 2012 when he was the first man to finish the New York City Marathon in two hours and 37 minutes. “I couldn’t believe I won the race. I double checked the results twice to make sure that was my name,” says Julio. He credits his wife and son for this important milestone in his life as he says that he couldn’t embark in this strenuous endeavor without a supportive wife and loving son.

A friendly and welcoming person, Julio has become a mentor to 18-20 year olds starting to train for their first marathon. His main piece of advice is to make their training journey enjoyable, as this will help them develop the commitment and determination to keep pushing themselves through their obstacles.

Having been away from his country for more than 20 years, Julio greatly misses his parents and Ecuadorian traditions. His strong pride and love for his country, has motived Julio to find ways to give back all the way from the United States. With the support of his sister, the Déleg’s police force and mayor Julio has managed to organize an annual 6-mile race called the “Queen of the Cloud Race.” This race, held during the Virgin of the Cloud festival in Déleg, has been going on for 3 years and continues to be a popular competitive event attracting youth from Cuenca and Cañar. “I believe in the importance of being healthy in order to succeed in life. Running is the sport that keeps me mentally and physically strong and I wish to inspire people to stay fit through this hobby, says Julio.

Julio’s collective running record of 14 years includes the Boston, Long Island, New Jersey and Yonkers marathons. He hopes to one day be able to run the Quito, Mexico City, Chicago and Disneyworld marathons.