BY AMANDA A. TAYLOR
Joel Olivares knew the odds were against him when he embarked on his first marathon in 2014. Although he had participated in 5ks and 10ks with his daughter, he felt unprepared for running longer distances.
He didn’t know much about training plans to prepare for a marathon, the kinds of suitable footwear or the benefits of a proper diet, but he completed the Mid Valley Events “Get Up and Train” Marathon in 2014. After that accomplishment, he decided to help his running community by developing interesting apparel targeted toward athletes.
“That same year, I started MarathonPace.com, an apparel company focused on catchy slogans and witty designs that runners from all walks of life could relate to,” Olivares said. “I was so hooked on running, that I was committed to creating a cool and unique spin to how runners expressed themselves.”
MarathonPace.com sells a variety of apparel from T-shirts to mugs and tumblers with slogans such as “First Run Then Tacos,” “Cute Doesn’t Win Races,” and “Run Hard Beer Harder.” On his shop site, Olivares shares the narrative on his personal journey from being an inexperienced runner to an avid marathoner.
“When 2015 came around and the Get Up and Train Half Marathon was around the corner once again, I had cleaned up my diet and I was much more knowledgeable in the art of being a runner,” the Mission resident said. “I finished Get Up and Train with a personal record by 58 minutes! I crossed the finish line in 1:39 and the accomplishment was the most exhilarating, euphoric experience of my short running career.”
Olivares, 41, is prepared to take on the McAllen Half Marathon next month with his daughter. He will be promoting MarathonPace.com while running beside the community members he strives to inspire through his apparel. He says running in a marathon is a great way to garner wellness with like minds.
“The positive vibes and all the excitement surrounding the runners as they toe the line is something everyone should experience,” he said. “This is our community — the City of McAllen has set up an event that promotes a healthy lifestyle and it’s our responsibility as runners to promote and support it.”
Olivares said that running is a way to accomplish set goals. Through perseverance and dedication, he said he believes anyone can make it up the ladder of achievement. He recalled his most memorable run in the Tejas Trails Tinajas 100K Race where he endured 31 miles of loops, technical terrain, rain and mud. He said it took him all day and night to complete, but it remains one of his most prized accomplishments.
“For me, the glory of an ultra-marathon comes when you cross the finish line,” he said. “Not just for the award, but for being grateful I was able to do what I said I would. It helps to not always see it as training and as cliché as it may sound; running is a way of life and not a check box on a to-do list.”