For this feature, we had the opportunity to interview Diana Tate, the Lead Ambassador for Latinas Run Chicago. She discusses the impact her heritage has on her success as a running ambassador, how paletas (popsicles in Spanish) started her running journey, what advice she'd give to young runners who share a similar background, and more.
CAN YOU SHARE A BIT ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND?
Hola! My name is Diana Tate (Martinez) and I’m a proud product of Mexican immigrants. My parents made their way from Mexico to La Villita (aka Little Village - a predominantly Latino neighborhood on the south side of Chicago) where they raised my siblings and I. While some may have a negative perception about the area, I take pride in knowing where I come from. I appreciate the foundation I was able to have along with the connection and immersion to my cultural traditions that I was privileged to have during my childhood.
WHAT MAKES YOU MOST PROUD ABOUT YOUR HERITAGE?
Being Mexican brings me this indescribable, powerful sense of community. “It takes a village” is something that has always resonated with me and is a true representation of my childhood and even now throughout my adulthood. As a community, we always seem to have this close-knit, always supportive, have your back no matter what type of togetherness - whether that’s celebrating life, mourning a loss, preparing for the asada together, or simply going on a run with each other. It’s just a natural part of belonging we have that’s inclusive, and how we celebrate life.
I truly believe that my success as a running leader and Latinas Run Chicago Ambassador is mainly because of my culture and upbringing. I’ve always had this super tight, supportive community that has enabled me to unite various types of people together from young to old, from Latino countries all over the world - both near and far, inexperienced to seasoned runners and beyond. As an added bonus, I get to hear their stories and learn about their journey and culture along the way where we embrace each other and share our love for running. Being able to combine two of my passions (running and bringing people together) is for me - it’s a joy of mine, especially being around those who are so welcoming and fun all while motivating each other to reach our fitness goals.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY FIRST IGNITED YOUR PASSION FOR RUNNING?
I’ve been running my whole life, honestly - it all started with me chasing the Paleta man down the street as a little girl on those hot summer days - just kidding. But I’d say my running journey began while I was studying abroad in Costa Rica back in 2009. As a college student, the struggle was real - but when I managed to have a break from not studying or working - I had found some time to develop a new hobby. I decided why not, and soon after joined this morning run group with my peers. Little did I know these little morning runs would be so impactful in my life. After 3 months of walking, I mustered up the courage and began to jog - which after some time, I realized I kind of like this, and started to enjoy this running thing more and more. My friends convinced me to run a 10K in San Jose, Costa Rica. Since then I haven’t looked back and kept running - my track record is nowhere near finished, but I have since ran 5 marathons, 12 half marathons, and completed my first 50K in March last year. My lifetime goal is to retire and run races around the globe.
HOW DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED IN THE LOCAL RUNNING COMMUNITY?
Just a few years ago, in 2019 I decided to sign up for this Hispanic Heritage that’s put together by Latinos Run. I was in awe and loved witnessing so many Latino runners come together to run and celebrate our heritage - it gave me that nostalgic feel-good feeling of my childhood and that indescribable sense of togetherness. I knew I had to become more involved and didn’t want to run with them just once a year. I then attended a Latinas Run Summit in Estes Park Colorado alongside 50+ Latinas from all over the US. It was a life-changing experience for me to join women from all backgrounds and ages. I didn’t want that experience to end and wanted to continue that momentum of togetherness and officially decided to become more involved in run groups.
HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR PRESENCE AS A LEADER IN THE RUNNING INDUSTRY INSPIRING AND EMPOWERING OTHERS FROM SIMILAR BACKGROUNDS?
I not only see myself as a leader in the industry, but also see myself as that type of coach that is in the trenches running alongside with them. Whether it’s their newfound hobby, a challenge for themself, partaking as a stress reliever, or coming back from an injury starting over - I am with them every single step of the way. Despite not sharing all the same experiences or backgrounds as others, those in this community all have a story to share and have more in common than one might think. There’s more than Zumba in my community - and I’m here to make sure of that, there are Latino runners too. Although we may come in all kinds of different shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and abilities…we all share the same passion and determination. I am not the “cookie cutter” type of runner, I wear many hats between my professional and personal life - but I love running as much as I can and run about 20-30 miles a week either alone or with our run group. I can only hope my leadership is viewed by others as an inspiration and that they can accomplish their goals or take that first step in their running journey at any stage in their life - SI SE PUEDE!