Seven years ago, Ralph Sarmiento of San Antonio took up running for enjoyment and to maintain physical fitness after a 20-year career in the Army. During his service in the military, Ralph was deployed to Iraq on four occasions. Leading up to his retirement, Ralph entered a program called “Troops to Teachers” and earned a Master’s Degree in Education. Today, he’s a third-grade teacher at Harlandale ISD.
In addition to keeping up his own fitness, Ralph is also motivated to run to set an example for his now 16-year-old son, Ryan, who is currently competing on his high school’s track team. “We have been running together since he was 8-years-old,” Ralph explains. “I used to let him beat me during 5K races when he was younger, but he can do that just fine on his own now!”
“Actually, I don’t track time or pace very often,” replies Ralph. “I just really enjoy running, plain and simple.” But, as an outsider looking at Ralphs numbers, it’s easy to understand just how much he likes running. In 2021, he completed 80 events of varying distances, from 5k to half marathon. It makes sense that Ralph finds inspiration from Aristotle’s quote, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”
One of his most memorable recent races this year was the Midnight Sun Run in Iceland. The nighttime event is held in June, a month when it remains light outside until 4 a.m. “I experienced some challenges on race day such changing into my gear in a restaurant bathroom (since I was on a tour during the day) and getting quite a few stares since I took public transportation to the start.”
Another 2021 race finish that is “frozen” in his mind is the challenging Zion Half Marathon in Utah, where it started to rain and snow at mile five. The next big race for Ralph is the Glacier Half Marathon in Montana this June.
When it comes to enjoying beef as part of his active lifestyle, Short Ribs and Strip Steak are a couple of Ralph’s favorites cuts. He likes to reward himself with a good meal after a race finish. “Steak definitely tastes much better than that guinea pig I once ate in Peru,” he laughs. “That was served fried whole and tasted a little like dark meat chicken.”
Read on to learn more fun facts about this four-year Texas Beef Team member.
Bet You Didn’t Know: I am in the opening sequence of the movie, Ace Ventura 2.
Texas Races I Like: My favorite Texas race is the Austin Statesman 10,000 because it’s so very well attended and has excellent support along the course, including our cheer station. Also, the races series from Scallywompus and Trail Running over Texas are enjoyable too.
What I’ve Learned About Beef: It’s important to season the meat. Also, I attended the Smoking 101 class and plan to incorporate those new skills in upcoming meals.
Inspired By: I am inspired by a local runner named Scotty Kabrich, a cancer survivor. (Editor’s note: He’s an older gentleman that many have probably seen on the course, he always wears the t-shirts emblazoned with “I beat cancer, never give up!”_
Other Sports: I have participated in three Spartan Race events.
Pre-run Food: My go-to is coffee and water.
Best Advice: Your race; your pace.
Running Gear: I run in Hoka running shoes and without earbuds.