Fifteen years ago, Cesar Gamez was in a new country, learning a new language, and the stress of his new job was getting to him.
Gamez, who had been working for Cummins Turbo in Mexico, had just moved to another Cummins Turbo plant in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2001. The next year, he was asked to implement a Monumental Management System.
So the San Luis, Mexico, native began running. A friend invited him to run a 5K, and he was hooked.
“From there, I got motivated and started running,” Gamez said.
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Gamez, 57, will be this year’s male diary writer for The Republic. Beginning next week, he will write five entries every other week for 10 weeks, chronicling his journey toward this year’s Mill Race Marathon.
The female diary writer, Dipti Gore, will be introduced in next week’s Republic.
From that first 5K in South Carolina, Gamez, who had played squash in Mexico, began building his mileage. In 2004, he did his first half-marathon at Kiawah Island, South Carolina. He finished in 1 hour, 45 minutes.
In 2006, Gamez began following a training program established by Ryan Hall, who had broke 1:00 in the half-marathon. That year, Gamez dropped his half-marathon time to 1:27.
Having conquered the half-marathon, Gamez set his sights on the full 26.2-mile marathon. He ran the Myrtle Beach Marathon in 3:23 in 2007.
Games moved to Columbus in 2008, but had a rough start to his training here. He was slowed by a hamstring pull from the final 10K race in South Carolina that year.
Still, Gamez ran the Chicago Marathon in 2007, 2008 and 2009. He joined a running club named Venados in Chicago, where his wife’s family lives, and he said that helped keep him motivated to run.
Gamez also did Columbus’ Mill Race Race, a 15K which operated before the Mill Race Marathon began in 2013.
Gamez’ wife, Magdalena, who started running in 2012, did the full Mill Race Marathon in 2013, while Gamez did the half-marathon. He was the eighth-best local finisher in 1:28:38.
The past three years, Gamez has run the full marathon. He finished 20th overall in a personal-best 3:19:00 in 2014. He was the No. 3 local finisher in 3:24:07 in 2015 and the No. 5 local finisher in 3:28:41 last year.
This year, Gamez’ goal is to get down to 3:15.
Meanwhile, now that Cesar and Magdalena are runners, they’re trying to get their daughters, Alexandra and Monica, involved in running. Monica, who is a student at Indiana University, is planning to run her first marathon this year in Chicago.
Gamez has seen first-hand what running can do for a person.
“Being active and running makes me feel younger,” Gamez said. “If somebody is trying to get me to run something or do something, I can do it with no problem. It keeps me in good shape.”
Name: Cesar Gamez
Hometown: San Luis, Mexico
Occupation: Mantainance Coporate Functional Excellence leader for Cummins
Family: Wife, Magdalena; daughters, Alexandra and Monica
Cesar Games’ Mill Race Marathon finishes: