Name: Joseph Leon Guerrero
Home State: Texas
BAR: When did you start running?
JLG: In 2002, I started long distance running after my wife of 22 years suddenly passed away and not long after a coworker said to me, in the middle of my usual five mile run, “Lieutenant, you should sign up and run the Kolekole Pass Half Marathon.” I told him that I couldn’t run that far but he convinced me that I could. Two months later I completed the half marathon in about two hours 45 minutes.
Not long after that, he then said, “Lieutenant, you should sign up for the Honolulu Marathon and run it this December”. Again I told him there was no way I could run a marathon. He said that if I could run a half marathon, I could run a marathon. And sure enough, three months later, I completed my first marathon in 5 hours and 59 minutes. My first three marathons were the Honolulu Marathon.
BAR: Why do you run now?
JLG: I run now because I am addicted to it. I love getting all the medals. I enjoy seeing my friends at all the races and it’s great to get out and exercise.
BAR: What motivates you?
JLG: Challenges motivate me. I am very competitive and get a rush when I complete a challenge.
Longest race: My longest race was a 50K that I ran in August of 2012 in San Antonio and it was held by I Ran Marathons on Leon Creek. It took me 7 hours and 57 minutes. The race director has a “No runner left behind policy”. This was perfect since I’m not fast.
Hardest course: My hardest course is the Chosen Marathon in New Braunfels TX because of all the rolling hills. It is an out and back that follows the Guadalupe River along the mostly shaded River Road. Despite being difficult, I’ve managed to get PRs on 2 of the 3 times running this marathon.
Hardest race for you: My hardest race was the Tulsa Route 66 Marathon in 2012. The reason it was hard is because the day before I ran the Warmup Marathon in nearby Jenks OK.
Favorite race (location / dates in case people would like to try it): My favorite race is the Seabrook Lucky Trail Marathon in Seabrook TX. I have been running that race each year since 2007 excluding 2012 when I ran the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach VA. Seabrook is held during Spring Break and is a two day event. The first day is a half marathon and you have the choice of running another half or a full marathon the next day. If you complete both days, you receive a third medal.
If you run a total of 10 marathons or 20 half marathons or any combination totaling 262 miles on their course, you become a member of their Hall Of Fame and receive a plaque to commemorate your achievement. This past March, I received Hall Of Fame status.
Favorite course (same): My favorite course is on Leon Creek in San Antonio where I Ran Marathons holds many of their races. It is a 3.275 mile out and back course along a nice paved trail. It takes 4 round trips for a half marathon and 8 for a full marathon. Because of this, you get to see your friends frequently and there is an aid station on each end. I volunteer at and run many of these races.
BAR: What are your favorite and least favorite distances, and why?
JLG: My favorite short distance race is the 5K because it’s over with pretty quickly.
My favorite long distance is the half marathon. When I run it, I’m usually done between 2:30 to 3:00. It’s a decent time and there are still plenty of runners behind me.
My least favorite is actually the marathon despite completing 38 of them. I’m slow and it takes me an average of about 6 to 6.5 hours. It takes a toll on my body and I’m usually one of the last runners to finish. Many times everyone is already gone and very little food and snacks are left. Kind of depressing.
BAR: Tell us about running with your dog Yeti. All of us on Team Badass have fallen in love with him – the pictures, his medals. What made you start running with your dog? How many races does he have behind him? Medals? Do you have any tips for people who might want to try running with their dog?
JLG: I received Yeti on Easter Sunday 2009 from a friend of a friend named Michelle. He was 7 months old and came from a breeder in Tennessee. I took him on a two mile run that afternoon and he loved it. He also attracts a lot of attention. We’ve been running together for 6 years and have logged over 2,000 miles. Last year Yeti ran 54 races with me. All total, he has about 100 races under his belt or let’s say “leash”. He has 40 running medals and one trophy. He has completed at least 20 half marathons and his longest distance is 16.4 miles. He also enjoys tubing down the river with me, fishing on shore or on a boat, hiking, running beside me when I’m on a bike, and going to the dog park to run around with his other buddies. There are very few races I run without Yeti, and when I run into my friends, the first thing they say is: “Where is Yeti?”
My advice on running with a dog? Well, the dog will like running or simply will not. Test the dog out at first. If you do long runs, feed him well the day before and get plenty of rest. Also make sure you give your dog water just as you give yourself. They need to stay hydrated too.
BAR: Care to share your PRs?
JLG: PR 5k 26:17 Schertz / 5 Mile 49:39 Whine Run/ 10k 52:00? / 10 Mile 1:40:55 Austin/ half 2:10:17 Moe’s Half / full 5:09:16 Jenks / 50K 7:57:20 I Ran Marathons.
BAR: I’ve seen you running with your children in a lot of races. Have they always been runners?
JLG: My kids (4 boys/1 girl (youngest)) are all grown and are either in the Navy or the Marines. They run in the military but not long distances.
Did they start because of your inspiration?
Yes, I did my first marathon in 2002. Two years later my second son Mike, a Marine ran the Honolulu Marathon with me and we finished in 5:57. In 2013, my oldest son Joe, his wife Melissa, and my daughter Jessica ran the Virginia Beach Shamrock Marathon with me. I have run about 5 half marathons with Jessica and 1 with Joe.
BAR: What is it like being part of a family who can share those moments?
JLG: It’s a great experience being in my mid-50s and being able to go the distance with my children. In April, Jessica, myself and her friend Sarah hiked 120 miles of the Appalachian Trail that runs the entire length of Shenandoah National Park in VA in 10 days.
BAR: Are you a member of any running groups. If so, can you tell us a little bit about them?
JLG: I’m am currently a member of Marathon Maniacs, Half Fanatics, The 2015 SunRype Team, and Texas Beef Team, I coach for I Ran Marathons and also for Girls On The Run Bexar County. I was also a 2014 U.S. Road Running Ambassador.
BAR: What other runners, professionals, friends, etc. inspire you and why?
JLG: My two favorite runners are Larry Macon and Parvaneh Moayedi, both hold multiple Guinness world records for marathon running and both live in San Antonio. Larry is 70 years old and has completed over 1,400 marathons. Parvaneh has at least 700 marathons and has a goal to be the first woman to complete 1,000 marathons.
BAR: What are your bucket-list goals as a runner, this year and beyond?
JLG: My goals are:
Double Half COMPLETED 2014 Double Full COMPLETED 2012 twice Double Half and Full COMPLETED 2008 Triple Half COMPLETED 2015 Triple Full Quad Half Quad Full 50K COMPLETED 2012 50 Miles COMPLETED 2015 as a hike in 5 days. 100 Miles COMPLETED 2015 as a hike in 9 days. Section Hike the entire Appalachian Trail (109 of 2,174 miles completed) Bike 100 miles COMPLETED 2011, 2012, 2013. (Sound like you’ve already completed most of them, and the year is young!)
BAR: Do you have a favorite pair of shoes, or brand of shoes? Why?
JLG: I have run in Mizuno since 2002 and switched to Hoka One One in 2013. Last year I did a gait analysis had went to Newtons. I own 3 pair and switch out depending on what I’m wearing. My hiking boots are Merrells MOAB.
BAR: Is there any other gear you consider essential?
JLG: I carry a hydration belt with 2 ten ounce bottles. The pouch holds my car keys, inhaler, SunRype, and poop bags.
On trail runs I carry a hydration vest with 2 twenty ounce bottles. I also carry the same items as when I wear my belt.
BAR: Do you recommend one over another? Are there brands / items you’d like to try?
JLG: I use the belt more often since I’m only carrying either 10 ounces or 20 ounces and when water stops are available. I use the vest when I don’t have water stops. I now carry a 20 ounce filtering bottle on my vest so I can get spring, river, run off or lake water on longer runs or hikes.
BAR: What apps / GPS equipment do you use. Are there others you’d like to try?
JLG: I use my MapMyRun app on my phone. On long distance I use that and my Garmin 310XT or when I want to view splits and average total pace.
BAR: Any advice for runners trying to catch up and keep up?
JLG: My advice is to take it slow and enjoy the run. Lately I have walked or run/walk many of my half marathons alongside my friends and talked the entire way. You will be surprised how fast the time goes by and how much you learn about the person you’re beside. One of the things I preach concerning long distance is: “It’s not how fast you go, it’s how long you can go slow”