Park Legends: Luis Rios
Park Legends – An occasional series of posts on people I see often on my runs in Prospect Park.
The first time I saw Luis Rios in Prospect Park, I wasn’t sure if he was a runner. Louis has a longish beard, and was, if memory serves, wearing jeans and a t-shirt and shuffling along at a modest clip. He could have been someone out for a brisk stroll. After that first day, about three years ago, as I ran more and more in the park, I saw Luis more and more. On almost every weekend run, and often during the week, he’d be out there, getting in some miles. The park in the winter can be a pretty empty place, but I’d always see Luis. Sometimes he’d be running, sometime walking, almost always in the opposite direction of everyone else. We never spoke, but he fascinated me. How was it that I saw the same guy, no matter when I ran in the park? Overtime, I learned more about Luis. I learned that he had run numerous ultra marathons, including the legendary Sri Chimnoy six day run in Queens. That he was a member of the same running club as me, Prospect Park Track Club, and that many runners knew him personally and spoke of his dedication admiringly.
And now the question of why I always see him in the park has been answered by a short New York Times profile. So many of us see him in the park so often because he is so often there, running in endless circles, sometimes running forty miles in a single day, all of it in laps around the park. The thought of forty miles of loops in the park fills my heart with dread, but hey, it seems to be working for Luis.
Some have said Luis is obsessed, and that his devotion to running is unhealthy. Maybe it is. I’m not one to judge. All I know is when I see him rounding the bend in front of me, it makes me smile. I’ve never spoken to Luis, but next time I see him, I think I’ll stop and chat for a while. Its people like him that make Prospect Park such an amazing place to run.