His Father’s Dying Wish Inspired Him To Run Ultra-Marathons

The sounds of Texas.

By Joy Díaz & Caroline CovingtonFebruary 16, 2021 2:04 pm,

Several years ago, a friend sent Johanan Ramirez a text message with video of a grueling obstacle-course race. At first, Ramirez thought, “No way I could do that.” But his father, who was dying of cancer at the time, helped change his mind.

a man running on rocks by a creek

Ramirez on one of his runs. Ramirez is also the brother of Texas Standard reporter/producer Joy Díaz. Photo by Jim Skelding.

“When I showed my old man, he looked at the video and he was like, ‘Man, I wish I could do that.’ ‘I wish I could do that’ is the reason why I started doing this, the reason why I started running.”


“I started simple, one foot in front of the other one. Over and over again, and all of a sudden you run a mile. Then you run two, then you run three, then you sign up for your first 5K, 10k, your half-marathon, your marathon, and only about 0.03% of those finishers will ever run an ultra-marathon.”


“I had no idea there was even such a thing as an ultra-marathon. But finding out that there was a group of crazies that were covering the 100-mile distance was fascinating. I wanted to know if I could do that.”

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