People go running for many reasons. Some do it to get healthy, some for the competition and some to support a cause. Blanca is a 29-year-old mom of four living in Guatemala whose daughter, Berberlin, 13, is sponsored by Wayne from Montana. Blanca is also a runner. Her main reason for running is simple: to support her family.
Blanca started running at a young age. By the time she was 7, her dad was involving her in the sport he loved.
“My dad took me to competitions. He loved running, and we trained together,” Blanca said. “I would see him putting on his running shoes, and I also dreamed of using running shoes. That’s how I got started. I won several races as a child; I’ve been a good athlete. I’ve been a runner most of my life.”
Blanca has won numerous half marathons, and for the past two years has even ranked among the top three female runners in Guatemala. She’s currently the top runner in the state of San Marcos.
But running isn’t just a sport for Blanca, it’s a job.
“At first people called me ‘crazy’ because they didn’t take me seriously,” Blanca shared. “But I continued doing it because I love my family.”
Blanca’s husband, Antonio, is a day laborer, but had to take some time off from work in late 2016 for a surgery. During that time, Blanca’s running became especially important.
“I run for the love of my family because I know that if I come in first, second or third place, I will earn a cash prize for my family,” Blanca said. “I would earn $4 to $5 a day doing field work, but by winning a race I could get up to $800.
“My most recent race was last week. I got fourth place and I got a $135 cash prize. So this means a whole lot to me. It helps my family very much; this is what keeps me going. I am proud because I run with all of my heart for my family; I want my family to move forward. I thank my husband because he supports my love for running, and my father for getting me into the sport.”
When Blanca’s daughter was first sponsored through Unbound, the family lived in a small room that wasn’t in good condition. Since then, Blanca and Antonio have improved the situation for their family.
“Sponsorship is a blessing,” Blanca said. “My girl has received animals, a bed, a table, a wardrobe and many things that we would not be able to have if not for Unbound. Now she will go into middle school (seventh grade) and this is in part thanks to Unbound. I only finished sixth grade, but I want my children to have the opportunity for more.”
With all her passion, Blanca has even passed on the running bug to her oldest son, Aldrin.
“[Aldrin] travels with me and has run a few competitions,” she said. “I don’t pressure him, but if he wants to do it, I will support him. And now my neighbors don’t call me ‘crazy’ anymore. They now understand that this is a very difficult career.”
At just 29, Blanca is already a dedicated athlete with a lot of wisdom and, most importantly, love for her family.
“If you love something, do it,” Blanca advises. “Don’t make decisions to please others, make decisions that please God, yourself and your family. A mother has to take care of her family; no matter what job she does, she does it with love for her family.”
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