BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – He turns 60 in October, but Javier Cruz reassures age is just a number and he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon — even after his 100th marathon.
After two years of virtual races, the fifth Annual Bakersfield Marathon is back this weekend. Over 2,000 runners are lacing up their shoes to run on the streets of Bakersfield. Cruz is among those, who will be embarking on the 26.3-mile challenge.
“I’m proud to run the streets of Bakersfield,” said Cruz. “Once I knew we were going to have a marathon, I promised myself I was going to run it every single year, I’m proud of my city.”
Cruz’s 100th marathon had to be the Bakersfield Marathon. No ifs, buts, or excuses.
An immigrant of Sonora, Mexico, he ran his first marathon — the LA Marathon — at the age of 40. Chasing the adrenaline rush you get during a marathon keeps Cruz running.
“Running a marathon is so painful,” said Cruz. “I found out, I dreamed I was going to run 100 and I never gave up on my dream.”
How does one accomplish running way more than 2,600 miles?
“There is a lot of time you have to invest,” said Cruz. “There is a lot of pain involved and there is a lot of mental effort you have to put.”
Cruz dedicates his run to a friend and fellow runner, Joseph Temel, who recently died.
“Our friendship, it was very special,” said Cruz. “He was starting to run; he was afraid to run with me because he said I was too fast.”
There is no sign of Cruz slowing down. During the day he’s a U.S. postal letter carrier and in the evenings, he’s focused on the miles he has yet to run.
“I hope, believe it or not, that this will be my warm-up for my next 100 marathons,” said Cruz. “But I will let my body decide whether I can do more marathons or not.”
The race will go on — rain or shine — taking runners through dozens of iconic neighborhoods and landmarks including the Panorama Bluffs, Garces Circle, and Downtown Bakersfield.