Freddy Luis wasn’t always able to bang out 50-mile ultra runs. “I used to be 40 pounds heavier,” he says, “And until I signed up for my first marathon, I had never run more than four miles in my life.”
But in 2009, his father’s battle with lung cancer inspired him to go after his dream of running a marathon. “I always thought about a marathon,” says Freddy, “But it didn’t seem very realistic. Then I saw what my dad did everyday to get through chemo, and it made me realize I could try.”
Freddy found a marathon training plan online, followed the training, but found that 15 miles into the LA Marathon in 2010, he was exhausted. “I realized that when I was training, I would stop at the red lights,” he remembers. “But in a race, there are no red lights.” What kept him going was a sign held by a spectator which read: “Remember Why You’re Doing This.”
“I kept going,” he says, “I remembered why I was out there and I just kept going.”
Shortly after the marathon, Freddy’s friend convinced him to try the XTERRA Malibu Creek Trail Run .“The course was so beautiful. It was like I wasn’t in LA anymore. I was in another world.” At first, he just did the races for fun, but in 2013 he began training more seriously, adopting a vegan diet and his upping his training considerably to 60 miles a week.
Freddy has a good sense of direction and once he runs a trail, he doesn’t forget it. “I’ve figured out how to connect many of the trails in the Santa Monica mountains to make my own courses. I just did a 22 mile loop with 5400 feet of elevation gain.”
Freddy doesn’t just keep these trails to himself though. Through his Facebook page and blog, Freddy organizes group runs, shares information about local trails, and marks the courses he leads his fellow runners on. “I take flour in a ketchup bottle to make sure everyone sees the turns,” he says adding that flour is better for the environment than chalk.
The casting director and acting coach is starting to help others train for races and reach their goals. “Trail running changed my life,” Freddy says. “It clears my head and gives me a sense of clarity. Now that I have it, I can’t live without it, and I want to share it with everyone.”
You can follow Freddy on Instagram @trailbroncos and on Facebook @Trailbroncos