Willie Torres

We are happy to shine the spotlight this month on Willie Torres, an outstanding runner, Coral Springs firefighter, family man and a very special person.

MS: Can you tell us when you started running, and if you had any particular goals or inspiration?
WT: Running for me starting around October 2005 after what I like to call the “T-Shirt Incident”! I had been out of the Marines for a little over 2 years and had gotten pretty comfortable not having to worry about always being in shape. Well I was 7 months out to getting married and I happened across a brand-new shirt that I never wore. Let’s just say that it was a 2-man operation to get the shirt off. After that I started to jog around the neighborhood to start losing weight for myself plus to get ready for the wedding. I haven’t looked back and the sad part is, I never got a chance to see if that shirt would fit!

MS: I know your life took a dramatic turn when you father suffered a devastating accident about two years ago. Can you tell us about that, and how you are coping?
WT: Yes, my father was involved in a life changing accident back in May of 2015 when he became paralyzed from the chest down with

very little motor function with his arms after his vehicle was struck by another vehicle driven by a drunk driver. In the beginning, it was tough for everyone to try to understand how this could happen to my father. We are talking about a man that wouldn’t hurt a fly and this is what his life has become. However, anyone that knows my father, knows that he is a very positive person and I feel that it was my father that help all of us get through this and continue with our lives.

MS: You have made your father an integral part of your training AND racing now. Tell us about that?
WT: My father was at my first marathon in 2014 which was the A1A Marathon. When I decided to run A1A Marathon again in 2016 my father told me that he was sorry and he won’t be able to be there. A few weeks prior to the marathon I suffered a minor leg injury that required me to take a few weeks off. I went out with the 3:45 pace group and was doing well till around mile 12 when I re-aggravated the injury at ended up finishing around 4:45 instead. I took the medal to show my dad that I still completed that marathon and he wanted me to hang it up in his house. My response to that was NO, I earned this medal and if you want one to hang in your house you had to earn it as well. That was that start of Team Torres Racing!

MS: Can you share any particularly memorable moments running with your dad?
WT: Every run that I have done with my father has been great. From the training runs to the couple of events that we have enter, have been memorable to both of us. We spend our time talking about the past, family, how his grandkids are doing, and sports. We tend to talk pretty much the entire run! He does get some pleasure in berating me during our runs, “why are you running so slow”, “why are you breathing so heavy”, “be careful you’re going to hit someone”, “POT HOLE, POT HOLE, POT HOLE!”

MS: Has your love of running been passed on to your kids yet?
WT: It has taken some time but my daughter has started to express much interest in running. Especially after the Tamarac Turkey Trot last year, she asked if she can run with Grandpa and me next year. Lily has also been waiting for Emma, Melissa Myers’ daughter, before school so they can run together and have Melissa and myself chase them!

MS: do you have any running goals right now?
WT: Our first goal is to cross the finish line together along with my step-brother Carlos at the A1A Marathon. Which hopefully that is the case when this article comes out. We have also decided to run the Women’s Wellness Half Marathon in March in honor of some family and friends that have suffered and/or dealing with Breast Cancer. We will also be participating in the Wings for Life in May. The event hits right at home for us, the event supports spinal cord research!

MS: anything else you would like to share?
WT: We would like to thank everyone that has help us get to where we are today. Especially our family and friends, my Fort Lauderdale Fire Family, my NWBRRC family and The Broward County Council of Professional Firefighters for their generous support in this journey! Without everyone’s support this would just have been a thought instead of an actual reality!

Melissa Schwartz
Vice President