By Jovani Gama |Asst. Sports Editor|
For a 42-year-old dishwasher, running is not only a hobby, but a passion, an escape and ultimately, a way of life.
Tony Torres came to the United States from Mexico at a very young age.
The oldest of ten siblings, Torres found himself in a position in which school had to be pushed aside in order to work and help his father maintain the household.
“I went to school in Fresno,” said Torres. “I had to work to help my father take care of my 10 brothers and sisters.”
It was in high school, however, where Torres found a love for running.
He began training in the 9th grade.
“We won everything in the San Joaquin Valley in Fresno. As a team we won all the championships as high school runners,” said Torres.
He went on to talk about the countless invitations many universities extended to him, all of which he unfortunately had to turn down.
“The lack of money was an issue, and I couldn’t leave my father to take care of my brothers and sisters all by himself,” said Torres.
Nowadays, Torres continues to have that working mentality. With all of his success as a professional athlete, one would expect him to have a lucrative profession right?
Instead, Torres spends his working hours at the UCLA Conference Center as a dishwasher.
I, myself, am also a dishwasher and we laughed a bit talking about the pressures and stress that comes with the position.
It’s not as easy as it may sound.
Despite the fact that Torres receives earnings for his events, he continues his position as a dishwasher.
“Sponsors occasionally pay for shoes and clothes. It isn’t much that I make. Right now I’m involved with the company Compex,” said Torres.
He went on to explain that for some events, like the competition in Minnesota, his flight is paid for, but that he never makes much.
“I work because I have to. I make a little running, and a little at work,” said Torres. “I can’t complain. I live comfortably.”
As a competitor, Torres has found much success.
Recently he placed 3rd in the USA Master’s Marathon. The event took place in Minnesota.
In addition, he has won the “Endure the Bear” competition in Big Bear for two consecutive years.
With such an impressive resume to lean on, I asked Torres about potential Olympic aspirations.
“I had an opportunity 4 years ago, but I injured myself and was not able to go to the trials,” said Torres.
He went on to explain that, although he would welcome an opportunity to compete on the Olympic stage, he most likely would not pursue it.
At 42 years old, I couldn’t help but to wonder how many more years Torres would have in the tank.
“Seeing people like Tracy Lokken (47 years old) motivates me to keep going. I probably have 4-6 years left in me,” said Torres.
With at least 4 more years to contend with, who knows how many more accolades, victories, and accomplishments Torres can still attain.