raise more than just a sweat!

Endurance Club Ambassadors are movers and shakers in their respective sports... and they inspire!
The true beauty lies in the fact that everyone is equipped to become an ambassador - it's a matter of whether or they have the courage to act that allows them to be defined as such. Ambassadors need neither medals nor recognition to stand out, for an ambassador remains committed to the cause that motivated them to take action regardless of the circumstances.
An ambassador defines inspiration.

ADRIANA NELSON PIRTEA

If I can run, I am 100% sure you can make it too! I have been running since I was 17 years old, and I have to say this sport made me achieve most of my goals in life. I still have dreams of winning many and big races, but I will have to keep working hard or otherwise it is not going to happen.

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I am coming from a large and modest family (not like the African families where they are at least 10 brothers, but being 5 brothers and 2 sisters makes it enough to feel like an army or at least a sport team). I decided to run because all the PE professors from the mid or high school kept pushing me into small competitions and I was winning all the races I was in. My parents were great athletes as well. My mother was a cross national champion at her very young age, and my father was a multiple national champion in kayak-canoe. Fortunately, they got married when they were very young, and start having us (the kids) right away, so we had to keep the athlete flag inside the family.

I ran my first race when I was 14 years old. Our mid school PE professor sent me to represent our school to the Municipal Championship (Bucharest), where all the mid-schools were sending their best athletes to compete against the other schools. When I was at the start line, I had no fears, but in the same time I felt so small!!! All the girls were so much taller than me! The race was only 1000m and there were dozen of girls! I didn't know they were actually having this race to recruit the best runners for future athletic events. When the horn went off, all of us start running hard!! But, somehow I was just watching everybody all around looking to their faces and one by one was dropping the pace...after not even half way, I finally start moving my legs faster and faster I was passing everybody so easily, and start running even faster and at the end I won the race with at least 60m in front of the second girl. First victory of my career! They gave me a small trophy and a medal and asked me to come the very next day to train with the best team in the town, but for some reason I didn't go...I wasn't interested.

Couple of year later, when I was 17 years old, It happened the same thing. My PE professor from high-school asked me to represent the entire high school in the 1500m Municipal Championship (all the High Schools were sending their best athletes to run in this race). So, I went to run it again This time, I had some fears The girls looked more trained, and I was again the smallest thing in that race! We start the race and for some reason I was leading the pack of girls! Wow, what was going on? Don't know? Maybe I was showing a little danger? NOT! And the pace felt so easy to me, and I start talking with the girls making jokes and make them laugh...until I've seen this coach screaming at me with 500m to go! Adriana! Start running!!! Ups, I told the girls...I have to go! And I took off like a crazy cat, and won the race again. They were again recruiting athletes at this competition. Somehow, they recognized my name, and they made sure they have all my information to recruit me to for the best team in the town.

After that, I start running more seriously and became National Champion in just 8 months. Every season, and every year I was running faster and faster. I started to compete in Balkanic Championships, European Championships, and worldwide races. I have been recruited by the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and graduated with a degree in Kinesiology with a minor in Psychology. After finishing my eligibility at UTEP, I start running professionally. In the same year I had a huge improvement on the 1/2 marathon running a personal best in Holland (1h09min) and with this result I qualified for the 1/2 marathon World Championship in Edmonton, Canada where I finished 10th individually, and took the Gold Medal with the Romanian team.

Not too long after that, I decided to debut my first marathon in London in spring of 2007. Unfortunately, I got very injured and I had to take a long break from training. After 2-3 months of not being able to train, I start running easily and with lots of patience, I was able to complete a much challenged training program for the fall marathon. With lots of pain and little discouraged before the big race in Chicago, I was just hoping to be able to finish my first marathon healthy and with a decent time. I was probably extremely well trained, but I was so new in the marathon, and did not know what to expect from this race. I told my husband in the morning of the race 3 things that I will never forget: "Jeremy, listen to me and listen careful. This is a huge race! I trained hard, but anything can happen! One, I may not be able to even finish the race (due to injuries during my preparation)! Two, I may push too hard during the race, and bad things can happen...such a collapse and maybe the ambulance may pick me up...but please don't get scared! And third, the best case scenario, I may finish top 10 with a good time".

Day of the race, extremely hot weather for Chicago! Record high! We were all sweating very hard before the race, but I was very well hydrated. The race was very slow, and no one wanted to make a move due to the horrible weather. I was so focused in that race...I did not think of anything else, but for how I felt. I remember that after half way one by one was felling back the pack. By the 25-26km we are 3 women left. By the 30km, we were two women left!!! By the 35km I said to myself "Hmmm, I feel too good, why to stay!? Let's check Adere's reaction a little bit..." I took off after I had my personal drink and Adere wasn't with me anymore. I kept going alone until the unhappy incident happened. I thought I had the race and somehow I slowed down a little bit...Instead of concentrating to the race, I just got too excited and too happy before the finish line. All I remember is that, in the last 300m of the race, I looked back once, and I did not see Adere on the other side of the road (there were two guys who blocked my view and Adere made a smart move hiding on the other side of the road), so she passed me in FULL sprint in the last 30-40m of the race. There was nothing left to do. I felt embarrassed the way I end up the race (giving hi5's to the people and waving to everybody). Everyone was screaming so loud! They must have told me to GO!!! But all I took from the loudness, was "You are the winner" . NOT! I was shocked the way it happened and the scenario followed me for a long time. I still get the last image of the race, but I will never forget what I said to my husband before the race, and this makes me relax. If someone would have told me a night before the race, "Adriana, tomorrow you will get second", I will respond easily "I will take it!" And if that was my only chance to win a major marathon, well, I prefer to lose again the same way, rather than not getting close to 2nd place again.

Every race I am about to compete, I tell myself before the start "Relax, and enjoy the ride!" and "Use your back eyes, maybe this will help me more next time." Running for a cause or running for yourself, it would always be the same: "Start! And Finish! Stay strong and healthy! See you at the finish line".

Adriana Pirtea Nelson