Taji Team 2017
As a fourth generation US Army veteran, I have deep ties to the military and a profound respect for all who have served their country. My great grandfather served in WWI, both grandfathers in WWII, father in Vietnam, and I was in Iraq.
There are thousands upon thousands of honorable service men and women who have given far more to this country than I can ever imagine. As an American, it is my duty, at a minimum, to support them and show that their sacrifices have not gone unnoticed.
I was a competitor in the first TAJI 100 in 2010. When I returned to the civilian world, I wanted to continue that athletic motivation and camaraderie that I grew so found of. I picked up the TAJI 100 torch and ran with it. The first stateside TAJI 100, in 2011, was a mere 12 people and miles were tracked with pen and paper. Since then, TAJI 100 has grown to levels far beyond my dreams and continues to show even greater potential.
2017 is our second year teaming up with Team Red White and Blue. I am honored to support them and their mission. Together, we can do great things.
I am a Sunnyvale, CA native. Ever since high school, I have worked in professions that helped others. I started out as a lifeguard/swim instructor, migrated through positions such as EMT, combat medic in the military, and a San Jose Police Officer. Now I am very proud to serve the city of Sunnyvale, CA as a Public Safety Officer. As a Public Safety Officer, I am a full time police officer, fire fighter, and EMT.
Running is a relatively new love in my life, but it is a passion that will stay with me forever (knees willing). I have completed numerous 5Ks, 8Ks, 10Ks, and a hand full of half marathons. There was a time in my life where running a single mile would make me gasp for air and clutch my chest. Like most things in life, running is something that takes practice, patience, and motivation.
My motivations in life are my wonderful son and daughter, and of course my beautiful wife. She is the source of all my happiness. I absolutely would not be the man I am today without her.
Even if you don’t join our event, I hope that you will consider donating to Team RWB or another organization dedicated to supporting our veterans.
They need our help. Every little bit helps. Thank you in advance.
Lead from the front! Lead by example!
Some of my favorite motivational quotes are:
“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of those who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” – Albert Einstein
“…A civilization is not destroyed by wicked people; it is not necessary that people be wicked but only that they be spineless.” – James Baldwin
“No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch.” – Unknown
I’ve always enjoyed sports and outdoors activities such as softball, hiking, white water rafting and skydiving. However, after turning 40 I found myself looking to expand my fitness interest. There were several close friends that enjoyed running, but I had always been reluctant to join them because. It wasn’t until the beginning of 2011 when I decided to give running a try. I recall attempting to run a mile without stopping before my 42nd birthday and I was very disappointed with my effort. At that point it was clear to me in order to become a better runner I would need to pay my dues by committing to a regular training schedule that I would gradually build my endurance. March of 2011 was my first timed running event as a member of a 4 person marathon relay (26.2 mile) team that participated in the Oakland Running Festival and from that point on running became a passion for me!
A mutual friend introduced me to the 2012 Taji 100 Challenge which was an amazing experience on so many levels. It was a real honor to meet Paul Fukuma, Chairman of Taji 100 who participated in the very first event back via Taji, Iraq (2010). I was honored to become a member of the Taji 100 Executive Board following the 2012 event. You can learn a lot about yourself attempting to complete 100 miles in 28 days (walk, hike, jog etc.). It’s as much of a mental test as it is a physical test. I’m the son of a 23yr Army veteran and I take each step/stride when running keeping in mind all of the sacrifices our military has made. Honored that Taji 100’s partnerships with the Wounded Warrior Project (2013 – 2015) and most recently with Team RWB has allowed us to raise over $70,000 for military charities! The Taji 100 campaign will continue to promote the benefits of healthy/active life style involving family and friends in the process while raising funds for a very meaningful cause!
I’ve experienced many satisfying moments and accomplishments involving sports, however, there’s nothing like completing a race/event when family and friends are participating. One of my biggest sources of inspiration and motivation is my younger brother Bernardo who underwent a successful kidney transplant in 2007. We’ve shared some of our proudest moments as siblings participating side by side in fitness events and crossing finish lines in 5K’s, 10K’s, half marathons and grueling Tough Mudder’s has been priceless! I get an immense amount of joy and satisfaction by organizing group fitness events and encouraging people to get active and see them appreciate the health benefits by doing so (weight loss, reduced stress, improved level of confidence and more energy)!
I love the Bay Area and work in San Francisco as a General Manager of two hotels in the Union Square area. I will continue to encourage others to embrace a healthier active lifestyle.
I love the Bay Area and work in San Francisco as the General Manager of the King George Hotel a boutique property in Union Square. At the age of 44yrs old I feel healthy, confident and will continue to encourage others to embrace a healthier active lifestyle.
My favorite fitness quotes:
• Talk about it or be about it!
• Take control of your health before your health takes control of you!
• Too Legit to Quit!
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS/LOGISTICS
Another year means another TAJI 100 challenge! I’m back for more! I’ve had fantastic experiences over the past two years chasing those 100 miles and more importantly, meeting amazing people along the way and raising awareness and money for Team RWB. Same as last year, this year’s event will continue supporting Team RWB, enabling us to help thousands of military veterans returning from the battlefield and help provide assistance to their families. Last year’s fundraising efforts reached almost $15,000! 2013 set the bar but I have a feeling the 2014 challenge is going exceed all of our expectations! This challenge will push you physically and mentally. Rest assured, we together are Taji 100. No one gets left behind. We are here to support and inspire each other, and to celebrate our successes!
I’m happy to report that I will still hold my much coveted title in 2014 as “The T-shirt Lady.” Three years ago, I volunteered to help out with shirt sales and realized this was the best job ever because I had the opportunity to meet so many of you. I continue to be inspired by Paul Fukuma, our fearless leader, who organized this event on his own, with no expectations from participants except to complete their miles. And then there’s Bertrand Newson aka “The Commish”, who is too legit to quit and won’t let you either.
A little something about me – I’m a San Jose native and love everything Bay Area! Except SF Giants…Go A’s! Besides being the Taji 100 t-shirt lady, I’m an IT project manager by day, a group exercise instructor by night, and a mother of two 24/7. In my spare time, I sign up for way too many race events! Lots of great memories in 2013 from individual races and team events but my most memorable has to be completing my first marathon on June 16, 2013 at The San Francisco Marathon event. I ran, jogged, walked, and danced my way through 26.2 miles. At one point around mile 20 at one of the water stops, one of the volunteers shared her advice on completing 114 marathons (she was in her mid-60s): Put your left foot forward, then right, repeat and breathe! I loved this event so much that I am now a 2014 San Francisco Marathon Ambassador!
Favorite running quote:
“Whether it’s a 6 minute mile or a 16 minute mile, a mile is still a mile.
My first Taji100 in February of 2012 was a last minute decision. My good friend and fellow Taji team member, Bertrand Newson suggested I jump in and give it a try. At first I was hesitant because I lived in Florida and the majority of the participants were in California. Bertrand quickly convinced me that it didn’t matter where you lived, and that that was the beauty of the challenge, everyone and anyone could participate, regardless of where they lived, how old they were or how out of shape they were (which resonated with me). After that conversation I agreed to sign up, not really thinking I’d complete the 100 miles. To my surprise, the team atmosphere and camaraderie was a huge motivating factor that helped me complete the challenge. As soon as I completed my 100 miles that February, I just assumed that I’d hang up my shoes and move on with my life. But to my surprise, I was hooked. I kept in touch with several Taji members who encouraged me to keep running and to entertain running some 5k events. Since my first Taji100 in 2012 I’ve run numerous 5k races (actually too many to accurately count), a Tough Mudder event and over 20 half-marathons and 4 more on the calendar for early 2016. 2015 proved to be a monumental year for me as it marked my first full marathon. In October I met several fellow Taji members, including Bertrand & Becky in Chicago (my hometown) for the 2015 Chicago Marathon. I have to admit that this experience is one of the most memorable things I’ve ever been a part of. 45,000 participants, over 1,000,000 fanatical spectators and running side-by-side with some amazing, fellow Taji members…. PRICELESS!!!!!
I credit the Taji challenge and Taji community for helping me gain an appreciation for running and for helping me become a happier, healthier person.
In the summer of 2012 Bertrand introduced me to Paul Fukuma and Becky Hernandez. After a couple of meetings I was invited to join the Taji team and assist with the web-related services of the Taji100. I jumped at the opportunity to work with this great group of professionals. One of the things that we wanted to do was to take the “look and feel” of Taji to the next level. The event and all of the behind-the-scenes projects are a work in progress and a great way helps promote and practice physical fitness.
I’m privileged to be a part of this great program that not only helps people improve their health, but also helps our wounded veterans through Team RWB.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
– Benjamin Franklin
“Runners just do it – they run for the finish line even if someone else has reached it first.”
– Author Unknown