Nadia Ruiz ran her first marathon at the age of 14, beginning a stretch of 14 years of racing 26.2 miles that culminated in her record-setting 100th marathon in San Francisco on Sunday.
Ruiz ran both her first and most recent marathons with her father, who she credits for getting her through the first one. Before her initial marathon, her longest training run was 6 miles.
"He told me, ‘You can do it, you can do it,'" she told Runner's World. "I thought, ‘I can't let him down.' We took walk breaks ... My dad taught me the power of mental strength that day."
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Ruiz doesn't come from a running background; her family moved to the United States from Ecuador just before she was born. But her enthusiasm for distance running has been infectious: everyone in her family has run a marathon, and her father has run 49.
"The more I did, the more my family exercised," she said. "It's a positive feedback system. They supported me, but as I was reaching my goals, I was encouraging my family to be healthy."