Park Legends: Luis Rios

Park Legends: Luis Rios

Park Legends – An occasional series of posts on people I see often on my runs in Prospect Park.

Luis Rios getting in the miles.

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.

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  1. 2000 miles in Prospect Park | Milo and the Calf

    […] miles around a 3.3 mile loop.  Those aren’t Luis Rios numbers, but I’m still pretty happy with it.  After all those miles, the park is still by far my […]

  2. Numbers 8.27 – 9.2 | Milo and the Calf

    […] wrote about a running hero, a running legend, and 2000 miles in prospect […]

  3. premshree

    Like you I run in Prospect Park almost every day. And I would see Luis run — in the opposite direction. I never spoke with him, but at some point we started exchanging a typical runner’s acknowledgement. It was so wonderful to learn some of his story through the Times!

    1. seanv2

      He is an amazing character. I need to chat him up next time I see him!

  4. Anita Rios Decker

    He’s my uncle Luis and he is one in a million! He taught me all I know about great boxers and doo wop bands..I haven’t seen him in a while…I guess he’s always running!

    1. seanv2

      You’re a lucky woman! Louis is a legend!

  5. Marina Rios Frees

    He is my Uncle, also! Wish we could see him! Guess we will have to go to Prospect Park.

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