Garzoneño at the traditional Chicago Marathon

By Hernan Guillermo Galindo Mantilla

Luis Felipe Cadena Vallejo is a runner from Huila who will compete in the Chicago Marathon on April 18. His preparation for this participation occupies him full time these days.

Luis Felipe Cadena Vallejo received his primary and secondary education in the Garzón Cooperative, a municipality where his parents, Víctor Francisco Cadena, from Huila, and Marta Liliana Vallejo Botero, from Chinchiná Caldas, reside. Both have dedicated themselves to providing school transportation services in their native Garzón.

Felipe is the eldest of three brothers and studied electronic engineering, thanks to a scholarship he won at the Universidad de los Andes, in Bogotá. His brothers are professionals, Víctor Daniel, a software engineer and Valentina is a doctor, graduated from Surcolombiana.

He moved to Bogotá, and there he dedicated himself to athletics for eight years. He started running 10 km races, when a friend from college encouraged him to sign up for the first test competition that Unicef ​​was organizing at the time.

For this garzoneño, athletics has become a way of life.

Felipe says that at school he was not one of those who stood out in sport. This first race that allowed him to experience the party that it means to participate in a race, motivated him, he grew in enthusiasm and started the Bogotá Half Marathon, in which he has already participated in four versions. Then he took up running the 26-mile marathon, founded a team called Aethos, and focused on running.

“With them I learned to train to have a discipline and a plan for each competition,” he says. There are already three marathons that he has run, Miami in 2019, Chicago in 2020 for the first time, Miami this year again and now this April 18 the Chicago marathon in which it will be his second presentation in this competition in which he qualified on the strength of his good record in Miami.

Miami I was the first, “it meant a whole experience for what is lived from the preparation to the participation itself, we know how the body reacts in full competition, we learn the nutritional question also in the preparation and in competition, nutrition is important, you get to know your own body and its reaction and adaptation to the conditions of each test”, explains Luis Felipe.

“In the first competition, I set myself the objective of making a record in less than four hours, which is very good for an athletics fan like me in a category between 30 and 34 years old, I did it , I did 3h50 and that’s when the adventure began”, adds.

“Learning has been interrupted a bit with the pandemic, several competitions have been postponed, it was time to train in an apartment to do muscle building work, but the long distance thing got a little lost”, says the athlete.

This year it goes through time, which gives it another plus, “Miami, again this year it was positive, I had a thorn, I managed to run it without suffering too much, I was not going doing my time, but as a hare or guide for a club mate, it wasn’t me at the time, so I liked it,” he enthuses.

For Luis Felipe Cadena, the referents in Colombia are; Jeison Suarez who was at the Olympics last year, Ivan González and Abilio Yustre, the other Huilense who stands out in competitions of great encouragement.

“We have the image for history to see Jeison Suarez, among the elite of world athletics in his participation in the Olympic Games. To see him run the Olympic marathon with the greatest reference in the world, ”comments- he.

On a personal level, he says that arriving late to the practice of competitive athletics has a process of adaptation, with psychological benefits, there is not so much prejudice, there is resilience and it means accepting to encounter the different situations that we find during competitions. . “Of course, I would have liked to start a little earlier, but now, on the subject of long distance, we are already working on an almost personal process,” he says.

and after

The athlete from Huila mentions that he plans to pursue his passion for now and for a long time. “The truth is that I will continue for as long as my body will give me, being able to run has become a way to meditate and release stress, to start my mornings in a clearer way, it has allowed me to find friends and it’s an excuse to travel and see new places,” he says.

This athlete comes every two or three months to Garzón where his parents reside, he takes the opportunity to train on another type of terrain, covering the distance to Agrado or going to Zuluaga are some of the favorite routes when he goes to his native country.

Now, Luis Felipe Cadena is preparing to take the lead in a new version of the traditional Chicago marathon on April 18.

Garzoneño at the traditional Chicago Marathon
Competing for Luis Felipe has helped him discover new destinations and make new friends.

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