Erik was surprised and a little confused by the mountain bikes that pulled up beside him and the police motorcycle that pulled in front of him as he ran past the mile 12 marker. Then he realized: there were no other runners in front of him. It was 2017 and he was in the lead of the San Antonio Rock & Roll Marathon. He kept expecting someone else to zoom by him to take the finish line. But no one could pass him. He won!
But – he might never have been a runner.
The Starting Line
It started for Erik in the 9th grade. His father had always told him he was fast. Then a friend convinced him to try out for the track team. Erik figured, what the heck; might as well try.
He lined up with his friend to try out for the 400 meter. They started, and Erik kept up well enough. For the first 50 yards. Then his friend pulled well away from him and finished almost 100 yards ahead. Erik was disappointed, and walked away. He figured that track was just not his thing. He stayed on the team though, and took up other events like Pole Vaulting.
The next year, his friend Anthony convinced him to try Cross Country. It was different than running on a track, so maybe he could do better at it. They started on an 8 mile run, and Erik kind of liked it. He was able to keep up most of the way, but his legs kept getting heavier and his breathing wasn’t keeping up. It kept getting more and more painful. By the 7 mile mark, he was done. He stopped. “This is stupid!” he told his friend. Nothing was worth being this uncomfortable.
His friend Anthony literally got behind him and started pushing him forward. “You can do this!” he encouraged. Grudgingly, Erik made the decision to resume running and made it to the finish.
As he crossed the finish line, something switched in his head. “Wow, I can do this!” he thought. He had broken through and found something he really, really enjoyed.
As he grew up and into High School, Erik never thought he would go to college. That kind of dream was way too big. He figured he’d be a construction worker like his dad was, and would get by just fine.
But when he started running in High School, he trained hard. He listened to coaches and friends, and started getting truly fast. He was noticed by some colleges, and accepted a sports scholarship to Central Arizona University. They did not cover everything, though. Erik was lucky enough to find a way to trade working on the weekend to afford room & board.
His running career continued and he helped his team win the National Champion in Cross Country and Track & Field.
He ended up transferring to Texas A & M Corpus Christi and completed a Bachelor’s degree in Management.
In College, he competed in a lot of different events. He seemed to gravitate more to Cross Country and Steeplechase though. He was in a lot of meets at Arizona, and then later at Texas A&M. He racked up an impressive running resume, with a few top 3s and countless top 10s. He came in 2nd at a regional cross country meet with a pace of 5:12 over a 5-mile cross country course. He also snagged the University record for Steeplechase
Maybe one of the biggest events in college was when he met his wife, Kristine. She was a distance runner at Texas A&M Corpus Christi also.
After college, Erik kept running, but also started to work organizing local races around San Antonio. He used his art skills and organization skills, and along with his wife, formed his own event planning company: E-Dragon Productions. If you have been to one of his races, you will understand his passion for the sport. His races are fun, challenging, and have great swag.
One of Erik’s greatest joys now is going out to support his wife in her races. He’ll pace her, and has helped her nail down multiple 1st place finishes at local events. He has even paced her at the Boston Marathon.
Erik can still be competitive, though. In the 2013 Boerne 10-Miler, he took male overall and Kristine took female overall. He also formed and ran the relay team from San Antonio that won the 2017 Beach to Bay relay marathon in Corpus Christi.
Now he runs his company, E-Dragon Productions, with a focus on helping runners and the local community enjoy the sport and the community of running. In 2022, he plans to start a youth outreach club for running called Lil Dragons.
So, now Erik has a beautiful wife, kids, a college degree, and runs a company. All because a friend gave him a push at just the right moment.