Recalling Leo Manzano’s Humble Roots

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Dec. 13, 2012
  • Updated Dec. 13, 2012 at 11:44 AM UTC
Leo Manzano first started running by racing his grandfather in Mexico. Photo:

The Olympic medalist reflects on all the running in his life.

For former University of Texas mile standout Leo Manzano, life has been all about the journey. At the age of 4, Manzano and his family moved from Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato, Mexico to Marble Falls, Texas.

He fondly remembers that time as it was when he first raced, competing against his grandfather, Isaac.

He lost.

But things changed when his opponent, who had suffered a broken leg,  still challenged him.

“That was my first victory,” Manzano recalls.

From that point forward, Manzano realized that running was his passion, but when he wanted to excel at the sport, his parents balked.

“My parents didn’t really understand what running was all about, so they kind of discouraged me from it,” Manzano said. “They’d say, ‘What’s running?’

In the seventh grade, Manzano took off–literally. At Marble Falls High School, he garnered nine state titles on the track and in cross country.

His success in high school got him a scholarship to the University of Texas.

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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