Popular runner and proud family man Rio dela Cruz shares his thoughts about running, family, and staying motivated. Read on to learn more about him.
As part of our celebrations for Father’s Day this month, we spoke to Rio dela Cruz, one of the most popular runners and athletes in our country. Rio is also the loving husband of wife Nicole, doting dad to children Eisner and Qaimish, and now, a dad to a new baby boy. Here, he talks about running, how being a parent has changed him, and what values he wants to pass on to his children.
Rio started running at a young age and hasn’t stopped since. “I started running when I was in grade 5. It was when I asked the school coach to let me tryout, but he chose two others instead ,” Rio shares. “When they did not perform well, I persisted and asked the coach again. I got in and ran barefoot because I didn’t have running shoes. I won my first race in barefoot.”
According to Rio, his reason for choosing running was because it was the only sport he could afford. It didn’t require much sporting equipment and he knew he could do it He continues to inspire others by how he started running and how far he has come (pun intended) since he began this journey.
It’s also completely changed his life. “Running plays an important role in my life. My passion, determination and love for running gave me the means to finish my studies. Since my parents are separated and had no ability to support me financially at that time, I had to find a way for me to support myself, “ Rio shares. “That’s where running came in, it is the only way for me to be able to go to school and finish my education. I worked tirelessly to be good at it and it paid off.”
When one thing leads to another
Rio is a great example of someone who has turned his passion into a thriving and profitable business. Running also is how he met his beautiful wife Nicole. “My experience in running inspired me create my first running event. I turned it into a successful business,” Rio said. “Because of running, I found the love of my life. I was joining a running race and Nicole was at a nearby a bouldering event. I got lost and asked her for directions and you can guess what came next.”
One thing’s for sure, Rio isn’t shy about proclaiming his love for his family. He cites them as his greatest accomplishment.
“Before, my biggest accomplishment was being able to overcome poverty and not let financial difficulties take control of my life. I never gave up on my dreams and I used my situation as a motivation to better and improve my way of living through hard work,” Rio said.
“Now that I’m a husband and a father, my biggest accomplishment is my family! I’m so blessed to have a very supportive wife and sweet kids that are my constant inspiration and motivation to keep me going.”
On dealing with the pandemic
Like all of us, the pandemic has had its effects on Rio too. He’s had to be more resourceful and do everything online. ” I learned how to adapt to the changes that are happening around me and so far, I’m getting used to it.” Rio said.
“One example is my UP Track & Field team, we can’t run outside together because of the lockdown. So I have to think of ways to make my athletes stay motivated and stay in shape. I created an online program that I lead and join too for their conditioning and endurance building. I’m happy with how it turned out,” he continued, “This pandemic is challenging but it taught me to be innovative and not give up.”
On staying motivated
“For sometime I stopped running and focused on my running events business (Runrio Inc.). When I started a family, I started running again. I joined the New York Marathon, finishing it at 2:59:47 and even got featured in one of our local newspapers,” Rio said.
“It felt good to be back and in shape again, especially with my family cheering me on. Eisner was even sick at that time in New York and still managed to cheer for me and waited for me at the finish line! ”
“My family is my main source of motivation and inspiration. In whatever I do, may it be running or parenting, I always think of my family,” he says. After experiencing poverty, he believes it’s whats molded him to become the person he is today. Most importantly, he doesn’t want his family to experience any kind of hardship, which is why he prioritizes hard work. “I don’t mind working hard for them because I love them. In terms of my goal in running, my wife is very supportive and that is very important to me. She is an athlete too, that is why she understands me well,” Rio shared.
All the important life lessons
Rio also shares what values and life lessons he’s gained from running that he wants to pass on to his own children. “The value of hard work and determination. They can reach their goals and dreams as long as they have the strong determination to achieve it. I want them to know that with hard work everything is possible. If I can do it they can too!” Rio happily shares. “Life is never easy, you’ll experience challenges, obstacles , failures before experiencing success but the key there is not to give up and work hard for it. Process everything and know how you’ll surpass those challenges but most of all I want them to know that I’ll always be proud of them, no matter what, “ Rio said.
Rio is such a wonderful inspiration to many parents, both dads and moms, especially when it comes to overcoming challenges and thriving in any situation life throws at you. We look forward to watching him become a dad of 3 and continue to grow as a parent, a family man, and an athlete.