Saturday Spotlight- Juan Oliveras

Name: Juan Oliveras
Age: 64
Occupation: Retired – From AT&T after 43 Years.
Girlfriend: Margaret Rivero
Children: John 45, Chris 25
Place of Birth: Arecibo, PR.
Switched at Birth (Not kidding)
Former Altar Boy
Grandkids: Elijah 19, Nathalia 17, Aaliyah 10.
Education: Chelsea HS, NYIT, Electrical Engineering Major.
Running Resume: 50 + Ultras, 40 + Marathons, including 18 NY’s.
So many spectacular and heartwarming stories posted here by our fellow warriors that mine will certainly pale in comparison.
I am the youngest of four, born in Puerto Rico to Ana and Eustaquio. Shortly after my birth and unbeknownst to my mom, I was switched at the hospital with a another baby. If not for a small identifiable appendage that my mom noticed when I made my grand entrance, I may have become a rich aristocrat living today in Bora Bora.
We moved to the Chelsea area of Manhattan in 1952 when soon after my dad walked out on us, leaving my mom with 4 kids, 3 still in diapers, no job and no English.
The next 10 years was quite a challenge for my mother as we lived below the poverty line in a 1 bedroom apartment, all five of us and we had to go on welfare.
When I was 7 or 8 my mother became gravely ill and had to be hospitalized. During that time, for a few weeks I believe, my brother and I and my twin sisters were place in separate orphanages by social services until my mother’s health improved.
When I was around 12 years old, my stepdad came into the picture. Our lives changed dramatically for the better from then on. Here was a 23 year old that took on a very strong minded woman, my mom, and 4 kids ages 12 to 14.
We eventually got off welfare and bettered our lives little by little.
In my eyes, my stepdad can do no wrong.
Growing up in Chelsea and the South Bronx the only forms of athletic activities I participated in were handball, paddleball and softball on cement fields. Oh, and I did swim a mile for my swimming Merit Badge as a Boy Scout, which I needed if I wanted to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. Unfortunately our move to the Bronx put the kibosh on that dream and I settled for the rank of Life , one step below Eagle.
My running life began in the late 80’s when in my late 30’s. While channel surfing one November day I came upon the live telecast of the NYC Marathon. Of course, I had heard of this race but never actually watched it. Seeing the excitement and the different emotions on their faces when they crossed the finish line pretty much sealed my fate.
Thus began my long and obsessive love affair with running.

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