By Angela Covo
San Antonio.- This weekend, the fifth annual San Antonio Rock & Roll Marathon & Half Marathon (RnR) is back with live bands to encourage runners, walkers and wheelchair competitors every two miles to stay the grueling 26.2-mile course. More than 24,000 participants participated last year and every one of them had a great story.
The challenge is not so much the competition with other participants, but the idea of stretching way outside of one’s comfort zone to really earn that wonderful feeling of accomplishment.
Jeremy Suarez, 25, is used to overcoming challenges and obstacles. He even has a favorite shirt that carries his own personal motto: “Don’t underestimate me!” and his mother’s favorite scripture from Phil.: 4, 13 which says “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
It comes as no surprise then when Suarez explains that his RnR Marathon adventure, which started 2 years ago in 2010, led to a new healthy lifestyle of eating right and exercising.
Just two years ago, the young man weighed in at more than 305 lbs.
“I took a jogging class at SAC – it was a class I took to get healthy. After the semester was over, I realized I was losing weight so I signed up for the boot camp class, another P.E. class at SAC,” he explained.
Then I found out I had to train for and walk in the RnR Marathon to get credit for the class.”
Walking became a real daily habit, and Suarez says he never realized how important it was to have healthy habits.
“By the time I got to the starting line, I lost 95 lbs. I was ready to meet my goal, to finish the ½ marathon,” he explained.
And he did. In 2010, Suarez took two hours and 46 minutes to complete the race; in 2011 he improved his time by four minutes to two hours and 42 minutes.
This year he wants to improve his record again – but the dream goal is to get to two hour and 30-something minutes. The reason he knows he can do it again is because he never stopped walking and training – he works at it all year long.
His mother, Mimi Suarez, said the big deal is that his enthusiasm is infectious – and pretty soon after he started training…