Faces of Boston: Nadia Ruiz Gonzales

Gonzalez completed this year's L.A. Marathon in 3:30:35, placing 19th in her age group.

Nadia Ruiz Gonzales, 28

Teacher and Model
Redondo Beach, Calif.

I have participated in the Boston Marathon for the past four years, which included the disheartening bombings last year. I will be participating once again this year. Last year, I was named the Youngest and Fastest Latina to run 100 Marathons in the world, with over 50 Boston Qualifying times by age 28.

Throughout the years I’ve been running, I’ve learned one thing about runners: we are resilient, we are empowering, and we do not back down to a challenge. I have now completed 110 marathons with over 57 BQ times, and the Boston Marathon is a special one.

Why are you running the 2014 Boston Marathon?

This year will be my fifth consecutive Boston Marathon, and I choose to return this year because I will not let fear direct my decisions for me. Yes, the Boston bombings of 2013 are still very fresh in my mind, as I was there and my family felt the fear of possibly losing their daughter that day. However, I cannot and will not stop living my life due to fear. I choose to take risks and take on challenges because that is how I feel most alive in my life. It makes me grateful to recognize every single day as a blessing—and we should treat it as such.

What part of the event/course are you most looking forward to?

I am most looking forward to the energy of the city. Before the 2013 Boston bombings, Boston, the running community, and the world were strongly united and energized for the event that has brought runners together for more than 100 years. But I know in my heart that in 2014 it will be an even stronger force, and I look forward to be a part of it once again.

RELATED: Meet Competitor’s Faces Of Boston

What does Boston Strong mean to you?

To me, Boston Strong means we stand together, united in strength. Regardless of what obstacle tries to plague us, as a community we will remain strong moving forward in remembrance of Boston and all those moments before.

Who is coming out to support you this year?

Unfortunately, the Boston Marathon is a very expensive race weekend; therefore, my family has not been able to accompany me the past four years and will not be coming this year either. I will be sharing the weekend with friends traveling from all over the nation. Since I started running, I have trained hard to now qualify up to 57 times for the Boston Marathon (out of the 111 marathons I have completed). It has not been easy, but my family is always with me for each race and each Boston marathon. Therefore, even though they will not physically be there due to financial constraints, they will be there in my heart until the last step I run.

What is your race-day goal?

My race day goal is to push myself from the start to finish, to push myself outside of my comfort zone, and to be satisfied that I ran a race without regret. In my opinion, there is no easy distance from the 1-mile to the 100-mile race; there is only easy effort. For me, a race is a celebration of our training and it’s our opportunity to aim to be our best. I intend to do that every time.

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Check out Boston Strong, an enriched media project presented by Competitor.com

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