FitView – Jesse Santana

FitView By: Efren Martinez Running Fire Ignited

I have always made it a point in life to look to those ahead of me and follow their lead.  It’s no different when it comes to racing; in fact some of the best racing tips I have ever gotten were from my competitors who beat me to the finish line. That would include my friend who is an amazing runner, Jesse Santana. Jesse recently entered into my age group, so when I see him at the start line I know it’s going to be a hard race for me. A few months ago I got with my friend Jesse after a race and asked him how he got so fast and what ignites the fire within him when he races. His reply, well it came with a loving answer and in the name of his son Andrew.

Back in 2007 Jesse’s son Andrew was diagnosed with cancer and lost his battle to it when he was only 15 years young. No doubt, this has to be the hardest thing any parent could ever have to go through. Shortly after his sons passing, he met a lady named Cheryl Casey from Memorial Medical Center’s Team Challenge. Cheryl recruited him and explained what Team Challenge was about and how most shared a common experience. Surly, the timing on their meeting had to have been written in the stars because Team Challenge was in the processes of training first timers like Jesse to run their first marathon. He decided to join Team Challenge and dedicated his first race to his son Andrew. The day prior to the race, Jesse shaved his head in remembrance to his son.  It’s a day he and his family will never forget and what that race meant to them. For Jesse the pain is still there and it will always be there, but Jesse shared with me that there’s something therapeutic about putting one step in front of the other.  He says it has really helped him cope with some of the pain of losing his son. So when it comes to what ignites the fire within him, it’s the memory of his son. Make no mistake Modesto View Readers; Jesses fire is bright with the love of Andrew and his racing times show it. In fact, as Jesse told me, “Efren, I run to honor my son, his strength, his courage and his life.”

Modesto View Friends, Team Challenge helped Jesse through a most difficult time and even though nothing will ever take away the pain of loosing a loved one from cancer, Memorial Medical Center’s Team Challenge just might be a team that could comfort you if you’ve experienced such a tragic loss or are even in the fight of your life against cancer. As for Jesse’s exceptional running skills, you might say they where rekindled through Team Challenge because at age of 12 he broke the national age record for a 10K with a time of 36:01.  Jesse shared with me that he’s only been running off and on since he was 11 years old but never had the motivation to stick with it for more than 6 months until he started training for his first marathon in 2009.  He hasn’t taken off more than 2 weeks from running and that’s usually only after a marathon.

Some of Jesse Santana’s fastest races were recently at the Wine and Cheese race last October.  He ran a 5K in 16:49. Jesse is not just amazingly fast in short races such as a 5K; he recently weathered the awful storm that hit at The California International Marathon last December. With winds gusting as hard as 40MPH during the race and the sheets of rain that where coming down sideways, Jesse still managed to pull a finish time of 2:52.51.

I asked Jesse to share a final thought with all our Modesto View Readers.
“Running for me is a way of life and I know it’s that way for most. All I can say is the sooner you start the sooner you’ll be hooked.  But I have to warn you nothing rewarding is ever easy. So join a team and if you’re lucky enough you’ll find great training partners that will push you to do things you thought were once impossible.  Runners make the impossible possible”

If you would like more information or would like to register for Team Challenge,
call 209-569-7789

Fitness Event of The Month
Andrew’s Run For The Children
January 5th 2013 9:30AM, a 5K run/walk that benefits the George Mark Children’s House.
There is also a free kids 1Ž2 mile fun run at 9:00AM
Jesse started this charity run in 2011 in appreciation to The George Marks Children’s House. More info log onto

Racing Fitness Tips from Jesse Santana
For a 5k it’s best to start hydrating the day before as opposed to a half or full marathon which I’ll start the week of the event. Just before a race, try to get in 8 to 10 ounces of water in.
Pre-race nutrition. The morning of, keep it simple with some toast or a bagel and more H20 and some type of sports drink. 15 minutes prior to a race, Jesse warms up, stretches out and does strides prior to. He also includes a Gu energy supplement 15 minutes before the start.



Posted in: outdoor

About the Author:

I answered the call back in 1983; mixing Music and Entertainment with an eccentric European style has always come easy for me. In the early 80's I was the Disc Jockey for most of the high school dances in Modesto. In the late 80's I found myself in Hollywood working as a dancer and sound engineer for various professional recording industries. In 1990 my wife of 25 years and I started (The Quake Mobile DJ ®) which was seeded from San Francisco's 1985, The Quake, radio station that only lasted a short while on the air. 26 years later The Quake Mobile DJ is bigger & better than ever in the Entertainment industry. Real-Estate, photojournalism, event promoter, saving animals, travel and fitness are a few other of my interests. I also enjoy motivational speaking to children and to those who are struggling with addiction. In my life, I have always been a very direct person and once I see a goal I won't quit till I've achieved it. But out of all of the above I feel in my heart that the best inspiration in my life is my wife and my love for the faith that I practice. Phil 4:20