Less than an hour after we meet, this guy asks if Amanda and I want to run down Broadway in our underwear with him and his friends. Creepy? Not at all after spending just 5 minutes of a 50 minute run with this amazing adventurist.
One of the coolest things we’ve done is finding random running groups to pound the pavement with when we travel. Among our favorite runs was a 6 miler on Amanda’s birthday through Brentwood TN with the Brentwood Breakfast Club (BBC). That is when we met our new friend Roy Tamez.
This bacon loving bunch welcomed us with open arms. Roy, through easy conversation, made us feel comfortable by simply showing a genuine interest. His dear friend Jennifer Chaffin refers to that as his “inclusive spirit”, a gift he has which makes him such an integral part of the group. In less than an hour I learned he was a happily married, retired, funny, family man with a huge heart, his friends love him, and he likes to run….A LOT!!! I left wanting to learn more about his story which he was kind enough to share.
At age 62, there’s no slowing Roy down. He and his wife Darlene retired after working many years for AT&T in California. Early in 2012 they picked up and moved to Nashville to be close to their daughter and two grandchildren. Prior to retirement Roy would run some 5k and 10ks on and off for years. However it was retirement that triggered his desire to run longer distances. It became his hobby and before too long, he was hooked, which may be an understatement.
When asked about the impact running has had on his life Roy responded, “Running has really impacted my life (& my wife’s life as well). We have made so many new friends and we stay so active because of running. It feels like we have found a “purpose” with which to express ourselves. I have also found out that I can do more than I ever thought I could do. Like running Marathons & super Ultras!! The biggest impact is, how ALIVE I feel and how much I love every single day!!”
Marathons, Ultras, trail runs, you name it, Roy runs it! He’s no stranger to 50k and 100 mile trail races. In 2013 Roy ran 314 miles and covered parts of 5 states over 6 days in a race called “The Last Annual Vol State Road Race”. In May of 2014 Roy ran in the mountains, crossed rivers, and conquered trails in the “Thunder Rock 100” trail run where he finished 1st in his age group. Jennifer and the crew always joke that if you hang out with Roy you’ll commit to too many races.
When I asked about his favorite running moment Roy responded, “last year(2015) when I finished Boston and Darlene (my wife) was there and told me I had a PR & BQ in Boston!! She cried and I teared up with a big lump in my throat as we hugged forever! We were both so happy. As for a Trail moment, I have two: First: I ran a 50k trail race last year and after 7 hours of running, I came out of the woods towards the finish and my wife was there with our oldest grandson (5 yrs old). He ran me towards the finish line and again, I was pretty emotional having him run with me!! It was the best feeling! Second: was being able to qualify & actually run the French & Swiss Alps at UTMB-CCC 100K last year!! That was the “Boston” of trail running for me!!”
Roy is a proud member of Nashville’s Fleet Feet Racing Team. He attributes much of his success to group running. He often goes out twice/day with different groups. He states, “Our running friends motivate and inspire one another. It is always such a thrill when you make a new friend. And look at us having our chance meeting! Two special runners from Chicago come and run with us in little ole Brentwood Breakfast Club!! How fantastic is that!! …running is our universal thread that binds us!!”
Jennifer adds, “He’s a machine, but it’s always so much fun running with him. It’s easy for runners to get anxious about racing, but he has a relaxed, ‘zen-like’ spirit that is contagious. He reminds me to just go out easy and then pick up my pace if I feel good.” I also have to mention how blessed I feel to call he and his wife Dar my friends. I’ve gotten to spend a lot of time traveling to destination races and they are incredibly kind and warm people!”
Roy’s wife Darlene has played an incredible role as well! Dar, also a runner, happily sticks to the half marathon distance. It’s her support of Roy’s long runs that is truly amazing. “She has been out in the mountains cheering and crewing me all day & night long on my 100 milers. She also crewed me for 6 days when I did the Vol State run!!! There is no way I could do these runs without her!! She is my angel”, says Roy.
Roy survived the heat at this year’s Boston Marathon in April and earned a 2017 BQ in the process. He followed that up less than 2 weeks later with another BQ at the Nashville RNR Marathon. Upcoming is a Grand Canyon run with his BBC friends followed by a trip to France for a 100k before heading to run with Berlin Marathon in September. Beyond that, he’s aiming to hit all the major international marathons and hike the entire 2100 miles of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.
In just the short time I have known him, I am truly inspired. Not only does he have terrific hair, but a heart of gold, incredible attitude, and an admirable outlook on life. As important, he has a ton of fun and lives life to the fullest. Those who have him in their life, are truly fortunate. I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up but I do know I want to impact people’s lives just like Roy!
The underwear run he tried to get us to participate in was the Cupid’s Undie Run in downtown Nashville. It’s an annual race for a great cause, The Children’s Tumor Foundation. Amanda and I couldn’t make it to the event but we caught a lot of the photos. Roy sure had a great time.
When Amanda and I went to run with the East Nasty group later that weekend, we mentioned Roy’s name to one of the members. The man responded, “oh that dude is a legend!”
We can’t wait to see him again!