The sporting career of Luis Ortiz (76) began the same year as Patagonian International Marathon®. In 2012, after becoming a widower, the Civil Electrical Engineer decided that he would begin running: “I said to myself, ‘how can I spend my time and energy?’ And so I changed the chip”, he recalls. Thus, he registered for a 10K event organized by the Air Force in the Metropolitan Region and enjoyed it so much that he sought additional challenges. The launch of the first marathon in Torres del Paine National Park appeared as a blip on his radar: “I traveled to join the first edition and haven’t stopped attending the event since.”
Luis Ortiz participated in the 10K of Patagonian International Marathon® for the first three years before changing to the 21K, a distance in which he has usually finished on the podium for his category: “Running in the midst of such natural beauty is exciting and incredible. I believe that this is the event’s main attraction, with another important aspect being the excellent organization,” he claims.
Luis Ortiz 10-Time Participant of Patagonian International Marathon®
With the exception of 2020, when the pandemic forced the suspension of all major events, Luis Ortiz has traveled every year to the Magallanes Region. September is a month that is reserved on his calendar. For this reason, Racing Patagonia® honored him during the tenth anniversary of Patagonian International Marathon®, which took place in 2022. He was not expecting it: “The recognition for having participated in the ten editions was a great surprise. This race is unique and I recommend it to all my friends. On social media as well,” he mentions.
Along the way, Luis Ortiz has also motivated Teresa Carmona, his current partner and adventurer companion. Today, they run together, and both have observed the evolution of Patagonian International Marathon®: The passionate runner reflected, “In the beginning, water was provided in disposable plastic cups, but during the most-recent editions, water and isotonic are only obtainable through personal bottles that runners must carry, which I find to be very good. Also, over time, the race routes have changed within the park, which is a positive change for me, as it has allowed me to discover even more places. Another aspect is the increase in the number of participants, both in the number of Chileans and countries, mainly from America and Europe.”
Luis Ortiz & Teresa Carmona Running the 2019 Patagonian International Marathon®
Since his retirement as a professor from the University of Santiago (Usach) on 1 September, 2021, Luis Ortiz not only left Santiago to begin a life between Villarica and Chiloé, but he has also scheduled trips to different parts of the world: he competed in the Berlin Marathon last year and the London marathon this past 23 April, 2023. “My time was 5 hours and 13 minutes, which is acceptable for my age,” he remarks. He is also registered to run the Chicago Marathon.
However, Luis Ortiz’s next challenge is obviously the eleventh edition of Patagonian International Marathon®. The faithful athlete, who will be 77 years old by this 9 September, confirmed his participation in the 21K: “Looking at the Cuernos del Paine, the snow-capped mountains and the lakes is very moving. Also, during the race, we are observed by guanacos and condors,” the doctor of Sciences admits nostalgically, who turned this race into a personal tradition.