SAN ANTONIO – It’s not too often that you will see a teenager get up in the wee hours of the morning for a training run with their mother, but that’s what Emily Barrera did for years, starting when she was just 15 years old.
“My mom kind of reeled me in because I had been wanting to run faster, to do 5Ks faster," Emily Barrera said. "So ever since then, I have been running more and more, and I’ve improved a lot.”
Emily and her mother, Vanessa Barrera, continued to show up for those early morning training runs with the Downtown Run Group, and, one day, they decided to train for a marathon.
“She got everybody else on board," Vanessa Barrera said. “She had told me she wanted to run a full marathon before she turned 18, and she was 17 at the time.”
During training, Vanessa Barrera’s circle of running friends started watching over Emily Barrera during training and during the marathon.
“They’re always asking me how my day is, asking if I’m OK and how my runs were," Emily Barrera said. "They’re kind of like my moms. I have multiple moms.”
Downtown Run Group Coach Bo Brockman said he has seen the mother and daughter transform into more confident runners over the years.
Emily Barrera, who was just a teenager when she started with the group, is now 20 years old and in college.
“It’s great because you are dealing with your multi-generational aspect of it," Brockman said. “You’re seeing an appreciation in that daughter’s perspective. You don’t get to see that too often, when a teenager and a mom are engaged in the same activities to that extent, and it’s meaningful to both of them to be here.”
While mother and daughter have busy schedules, they are already planning on participating in future races.
“I ran a marathon with my daughter in 2017," Vanessa Barrera said. "If we can do that -- we can pretty much do anything.“