For Jorge Garcia 2023 is a going to be a marquee year. Collecting his Six Star Finisher’s medal in Tokyo this month and turning 50 in August are both moments he never dreamt would be possible.
“I want to lead by example to show that everyone can overcome obstacles and that challenging times can create opportunities,” he says.
Born and raised in Newark, New Jersey and now living in Maryville Illinois with his wife and two daughters, Jorge had a tough childhood, but one that shaped his positive attitude and drive to succeed.
At the age of seven he suffered an unthinkable loss with the tragic death of his mother. The tragic event led to his father’s incarceration and years of prison visits , custody battles, shelter homes, and trying to fit into countless schools.
In the years that followed, the world of running helped him escape his struggles through various stages of his life.
“As a child in New Jersey, I would run out of necessity. In the U.S Marines, I ran because it was compulsory but later when stationed in North Carolina I gained an appreciation for running and I learned to love it.”
That love turned into a passion which lead him to the starting line of his first marathon – and more important life lessions.
“I struggled to finish my first marathon, but it taught me to respect the distance and the hard work that was required. I attempted it a second time in Chicago six months later and I never looked back.
Now running has changed my life. It has given me time to heal, time to think about my mother and I carry a photograph of her with me across every finish line that she never got the chance to see.”
Since that first race in 2006 he is now a proud member of the 50-State Marathon Club, a soon-to-be Seven-Continent Marathon Club Finisher, 100-mile ultra-marathoner, 12-time Boston Marathon Qualifier and a Six Star Finisher in Tokyo to top it off.
“I love to run. Long, short, fast, slow, ripping through trails or pounding the pavement. I enjoy training to push the limits of my potential and achieving a variety of running goals. More important than the competition of running itself though is the ability to inspire others – runners and non-runners – to experience what can be accomplished on two feet and to do what others think is impossible. This is far more important to me than competing against other runners, the clock, or myself.”
With more than 100 marathons in the books, Jorge dedicates his miles to the many people who have supported and inspired him to do his best and to never give up.
“My ability to bring out the best in people, both physically and mentally, is evident by the many runners I’ve helped record personal records and Boston Qualifying times! I constantly offer encouragement, while also reminding runners to stay mentally strong, be focused, confident, to trust their training, enjoy the experience and always have fun!”
Jorge likes to reference #NothingEverDoneAlone as a way to acknowledging the hundreds of people that have helped him over the years from childhood to his marathon finish lines. Today, his journey is to inspire others – specifically kids and people who have experienced hard times – to aim high, set goals, work hard, encourage others, and to pay it forward.
The celebrations for this momentous year – and many years of hard work before it - will kick-off in Tokyo with his wife and friends, who are also running the marathon.
“Earning that coveted Six Star medal will be a culmination of a lot of hard work, dedication, and commitment towards accomplishing a (crazy) goal that I set for myself back in 2006. It will be a time to finally “take it all in” and show gratitude and appreciation for ALL the kind folks who helped me get to where I am today. No doubt there will be many happy tears.
*Even if athletes appear healthy after treatment or surgery, or to have a disorder under control, underlying medical conditions could exist. Always consult a physician and get a full health evaluation prior to marathon training.