If you’ve ever felt the electric energy coming from a cheering crowd on race day (or even just seen an emotional Instagram post about a runner’s journey) then you know there’s just something about the running community that inspires people to start thinking, “Maybe I could run a race, too.”
Manuel Velasco has been in your shoes—literally. When he first started running in 2021, he could hold a consistent pace for only about a half mile at a time and, frankly, didn’t enjoy it. But once he joined Chicago-based run club Tortugas, which is powered by Nike Chicago, his passion for running was ignited.
Less than two years later, he’s run two half marathons, a handful of 5k’s, and is training for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Oct. 8. “This journey has truly been life changing, and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world,” Velasco says. “Yes, long runs are