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 (2016 – current) has allowed us to raise over 00,000+ 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.
My favorite fitness quotes:
- 28 Marathons
- 4 Ultra Marathons
- 200+ Completed Timed Running Events
- 1,500+ TAJI 100 miles logged in the month of February since 2012
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS/LOGISTICS
Little did I know the impact Taji 100 would have on me when I first participated and completed my first mission in 2012. Now that we are embarking on the 2018 Taji 100 mission, it’s been a life changing experience for me. It’s an absolute privilege to be part of the administrative team that works all year long to plan and deliver a month long virtual run/walk event that has grown exponentially over the years, expanding across the U.S. and internationally. In 2013 when Taji 100 mission took on a fundraising component to raise awareness and support America's heroes, today's soldiers and veterans. Since then, Taji 100 has raised over $75,000 that has gone directly to our charity partners. We are excited to continue our partnership with Team Red White and Blue and exceed previous years participation numbers and fundraising goals. What I love most about Taji 100 are the friendships that are born and continue even after the month of February comes and goes.
A little something about me. I’m a San Jose native and love all things Bay Area. I’m an IT Project Manager for the County of Santa Clara and also a part-time group exercise instructor. In my spare time, I sign up for way too many races!
Favorite Running Quote: Running is like coffee…I’m much nicer after I’ve had one.
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
Nando Gonzales, Husband, Father, Runner. Born and Raised in San Jose, Ca. I wasn’t involved in any high school sports nor did I care much for running growing up. But, after the 6 years in the Marines I slowing began packing on weight. I was challenged by my brother to run a half marathon, I went from Couch to Half Marathon in 2 months. I ran a respectable 2 hours and 2 minutes for my first ever Half Marathon. More importantly, in the span of that 2 months, I lost 30lbs! It was then that I realized Running was something I was going to have to get used to. A former Marine that I had served with told me about Taji100 in 2013. It seemed like a good challenge that not only would keep me running daily for an entire month to reach that 100 miles in a month, but it also benefited our Military. The First time, it took me all 28 days to get it done. The following years I gave myself little mini challenges within the challenge. I’ve ran it in 14 days, 6 days, I’ve cranked out 50 miles on day one, then most recently I made it to 200 miles! I look forward to February every year now, not only to challenge myself, but to get all my Friends & Family involved too. It’s great to get everyone Active and raising money for our Veterans at the same time. Once it’s over, I immediately feel withdrawals and look forward to the next Taji100.
Taji100 has introduced me to a running community I never knew existed. The Taji100 Challenge has kept me active and always thinking What’s Next? Thanks to this challenge keeping me active, I’ve completed several 50k Ultra Marathons, and in August of 2017 I finished a 100 Mile Ultramarathon. The friends I have made from this challenge are now like an extension of my family.
I have always contributed what I could to the event, weather it was trying to recruit everyone I knew, giving feedback and tweaks on the Logo designs, or organizing group runs such as the Midnight Run, to get everyone exciting and feeding off each other’s positive energy. After wrapping up my 200 miles this past February, Coach B and Becky asked me to join the Admin Team. It was a no brainer and I’m so happy to contribute as much as I can to this event all year long.
A few favorite quotes:
“When your legs get tired, Run with your Heart”
“A 12 minute Mile, is Just as Far as a 6 Minute Mile”
“Nothing Truly Great, ever came from a Comfort Zone”
“Embrace the Suck”