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In the world of athletics, every runner has a unique story, filled with challenges, achievements, and passion. Today, we are pleased to introduce Juan Zurita Victoria, a distinguished athlete who has made his mark both on and off the track. From his humble beginnings to his partnership with Oax Sport, Juan shares his journey, inspirations, and advice for those wishing to follow in his footsteps in the world of athletics. Join us on this journey and learn more about Juan’s life and career.
Introduction and Welcome:
- Hello, Juan! Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get started in track and field and how did you come to be a part of Oax Sport?
From a young age, I’ve had a strong passion for sports. During elementary and high school, I participated in track competitions where I performed well, although at the time I didn’t think much of it. However, everything changed in early 2018 when a friend shared an invitation for a national tryout in Puebla. Despite having no formal athletics training and only running around my hometown, I managed to win and secure a spot in the nationals. That experience ignited my interest in track competitions. Upon entering La Salle University later that year, I wanted to join a representative team. I decided to try out for football, basketball, and athletics. My performance in the athletics trials stood out, and even though I was interested in trying other sports, the athletics coach saw my potential. His belief in me led me to fully commit to athletics, a decision I don’t regret. My journey to Oax Sport began during the pandemic when I joined the ATLETHOS club. There, I met several members of Oax Sport and was drawn to their mission of supporting athletes. Shortly after, I joined this wonderful initiative.
Experience as a Track Runner:
- What do you enjoy most about being a track runner and what has been your experience with Oax Sport?
Running on the track is a continuous challenge; it demands the best of me and pushes me to unleash my full potential. Being an athlete means improving every day. What I value the most is seeing how hard work translates into results, and achieving my goals is an unparalleled feeling. My journey with Oax Sport has been incredibly rewarding. Even before joining, I was impressed with their commitment to support athletes from indigenous communities. Once I became part of them, that admiration grew. Oax Sport has not only provided me with support on numerous occasions but has also allowed me to contribute to other athletes facing challenges similar to mine.
- What is your training routine, and is there any exercise or technique you consider essential for your performance?
My training consists of strength sessions, on-track practices, and endurance exercises. Whenever possible, I add a post-training gym routine. While I value every exercise, I believe what truly makes a difference is mental preparation. It’s crucial to face each competition with determination and confidence.
Competitions and Achievements:
- Tell us about your most notable competitions and the achievements you’ve reached in your career. How do you mentally prepare to face a competition?
Among my most significant achievements are:
- Winning 5 state university competitions in the 400m, 800m, and 1500m events.
Securing victories in 3 state selection events for the national Antorcha in the 200m, 400m, 800m, and 4x100m relays.
Championships in various state track events over my 5-year career.
The competitions I hold close to my heart include:
- Securing first place in the 800m and second in the 400m at the university in 2020.
- Becoming the champion of the Trail de los Leones in the State of Mexico.
- First place in the 800m at the National Antorchista event.
- Recent achievements in the Lasallian games, where I secured 2 first places, one second, and one third, accolades that earned me the award for the best athlete of the event.
- This year, I clinched first place in the 800m and second in the 1500m. In the macro-regional in Puebla, I secured fourth place in both events.
Mental preparation is pivotal when competing. During my training sessions, I often simulate race situations to be ready for any eventuality during the competition. The competitions themselves are an invaluable source of learning. The dedication and effort I put into my training provide me with the confidence and peace I need before each race, knowing I gave my best in preparation.
Support and Community in Oax Sport:
- How have you experienced the support and camaraderie within the Oax Sport team? How relevant is this environment to your development as an athlete?
The solidarity and camaraderie in Oax Sport are exceptional. From the moment I joined, everyone on the team established an excellent relationship, facilitating a productive and harmonious dynamic. This environment is crucial for me, as sharing experiences with athletes facing similar challenges and who, despite this, continuously seek to excel, becomes a source of inspiration to give my best. Additionally, having the backing and trust of the directors is a powerful incentive. Feeling that there are people who believe in us reinforces my motivation and commitment.
Challenges and Overcoming:
- Have you faced specific challenges or an injury during your career? How have you overcome these obstacles, and what lessons have you drawn from those experiences?
One of my main challenges is the distance between my home and the city. To train on a proper track, I have to travel over three hours daily, using different modes of transportation. This situation is made more challenging because my training sessions are in the evenings, ending late at night when transportation options are limited. Fortunately, regarding injuries, I haven’t faced severe issues. For over a year, I’ve had the support and guidance of LTF. Daniel Legaria, who has been essential in preventing injuries and enhancing my skills on the track.
Inspiration and Role Models:
- Is there an athlete or figure who inspires you or whom you see as a benchmark in your sports journey?
There are several athletes who inspire me throughout my career. Hence, it’s challenging to choose just one as a primary role model.
Contribution to the Oaxaca Community:
- In what ways do you believe your journey as a track runner contributes to the sports community of Oaxaca? Do you seek to inspire or support young athletes in any way?
My goal is to consistently improve my records, encouraging other athletes in the state to push themselves harder, thereby raising the competitive standard in Oaxaca, especially in middle-distance races where I see a potential for growth. I aim to be a role model for young athletes. I give my all in every training session, hoping they feel inspired to give their best. Additionally, I share with them advice and insights I’ve gathered throughout my career. I am heartened to see that my effort and dedication are acknowledged by many, which drives me to keep moving forward and reaffirms that I’m on the right path.
Future Goals and Aspirations:
- Looking ahead, what are your main goals and aspirations in the sports arena? Is there a specific competition or record you’re aiming to achieve?
One of my primary aspirations is to have the opportunity to compete internationally. In terms of specific records, I am working towards running the 1500 meters in under 4 minutes and the 800 meters in under 1:55.
Life Outside the Track:
- Apart from being passionate about athletics, what other activities or hobbies do you enjoy in your free time? How do you manage to strike a balance between your sports career and your personal life?
Besides running, I really enjoy playing soccer and basketball. These sports serve as an escape and relaxation for me, momentarily distancing me from the demands of the track. The key to maintaining a balance between my athletic life and personal life lies in the unwavering support of my family. They assist me in managing my time and priorities, although, as I mentioned earlier, living away from the city presents its own set of challenges.
Advice for Future Runners:
- For those aspiring to take up track and field, what recommendations would you give them?
I would tell them not to get frustrated if they don’t see immediate results. Athletics requires patience and constant dedication. With effort and perseverance, the results will eventually come, and the satisfaction they will feel upon achieving them will be unparalleled.
Acknowledgements and Final Words:
- Before we conclude, is there a message you’d like to share with your coaches, teammates, or followers of Oax Sport?
I want to express my deep gratitude to my family for their unwavering support. To my coaches, thank you for your trust and for guiding me towards my goals. To my teammates, your presence and daily effort in training inspire me to give my best. My physiotherapist has been pivotal in keeping me in peak condition and preventing injuries. I’m profoundly thankful to the Oax Sport leadership for their commitment and support towards athletes. And to those who send me words of encouragement before and after each competition, your faith in me is a constant source of inspiration. Thank you, everyone, for being part of this journey, which undoubtedly will continue.
Thank you, Juan, for sharing your experiences and passion with us!
Juan is a prime example of the dedication, passion, and resilience that defines the athletes of Oaxaca. His story is inspiring, reminding us of the potential each of us carries within. Oax Sport is proud to support talents like Juan, and our goal is to continue being the bridge that connects athletes with opportunities that allow them to shine.
If you are a committed Oaxacan athlete who shares our mission and values, we invite you to join Oax Sport. Together, we can write stories of success, perseverance, and triumph, elevating the name of Oaxaca to the pinnacle of sports. We await you!