Going the Distance

March 01, 2020 - 1 minute read


Tlaloc Venancio

Tlaloc Venancio ’07 grew up in Veracruz, Mexico, and was working in the agricultural fields by the time he was eight. An older brother brought him to San Diego, and a high school coach recruited him to run cross country. His running talent opened a door for him to attend Concordia Irvine. 

“Everything was done by God’s finger,” Venancio says. “I wasn’t supposed to go to school. I was supposed to work in the fields my whole life. Going to Concordia opened my eyes to what it means to follow Christ, finding my place in life and why God chose me to come to this country.” 

Venancio became part of a high-performance team at CUI that won two national championships. Venancio was named an All-American three times and holds school records in the 4x16 relay, the distance medley relay, the 10,000 meters, the half-marathon and marathon. 

“Being able to share four years with my team was amazing. We achieved a lot of things together,” he says. 

After college, Venancio finished eleventh in the Chicago marathon, then suffered injuries which kept him from possibly making the Olympic team. Today he coaches track and distance runners in a poor area of San Diego, where his family moved to live out their Christian faith. Last year his team won their sectional championship for the first time in 45 years. 

“There are a lot of refugee kids on the team, kids who carry the same story I have,” Venancio says. 

He was inducted into Concordia’s Hall of Fame for track and field. “I was blessed to hear that I was an honoree,” he says. “I want to inspire someone to come behind me and break my records.” Venancio still runs 30 to 40 miles a week. 

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