Growing up in Nicaragua was a bitter sweet experience with a childhood filled with adventures, love, and tragic moments. During my early years I lived in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua with my grandparents. I have always felt a connection between running and growing up in Puerto. One of the memories that often crosses my mind when I'm running is one evening while visiting our neighboor , we heard loud explosions coming from different directions. Unfortunately, it was a very familiar sound as was the pounding of my heart every time the sirens and the ambulance played their melody. My grandma held my hands and said "run and don't stop until we make it home," as she pulled me by arm running down the street I could see the lights flying by and feel the rocks hurting my knees as I fell as we ran, but my grandma never let go of my arms until we made it home to the trench under the house.
I have always enjoyed an active life, but my life changed when I picked up running. My husband who is a federal agent with the Department of Defense, was working and living in Mexico while I stayed in San Diego for work. It was a very stressful time in our lives, and I realized that running helped deal with our living situation. In 2009, my friend asked me to participate in a 10k AIDS charity run. I completed the race under 1 hour and really felt a sense of accomplishment and joy I hadn't felt in a very long time.
Since September 2009, I have completed numerous half and full marathons in different cities. During my travels to Nicaragua I noticed people running early in the morning wearing gear a spoiled runner such as myself would not consider wearing. I was impressed and kept asking myself how I could help grow the sport and introduce it to the Nicaragua children who are the future of such a fragile country.
I learned about Fuego y Agua and Calzado Kids Run earlier this year, the first thought on my mind was an amazing admiration for what it has done for the children in Nicaragua. It has also put Nicaragua on the map of the running community, which is such a great impact for the image people have about the country.
My passion for running and helping others is driving me to run 1000 miles this year while helping raise funds for cancer research with the MFF and Calzado Ometepe Kids Run. Next year, my goal is to start my own charity (RunSandraRun) and be able to be of more help to organizations such as Calzado Kids Run!
Helping children one mile at a time!
-- Sandra Vivas
Live, Love Laugh!