Most people who run w/ Christian know him as a soft-spoken, dedicated man who is always smiling. But there was a time when his life was characterized by defiance & anger. As a child he played sports to stay busy, but he also got into fights and struggled to maintain his grades. During middle school his parents separated, and in rebellion, Christian snuck out of the house & got a tattoo. However, during high school Christian’s attitude softened and he finally began to mature. In 2013 his cousin asked him to be on a team for the 200-mile Texas Independence Relay. Christian had never run long distances before, but agreed to participate. He started going to Memorial Park to train for the upcoming race & quickly met a few other Park regulars who encouraged him & invited him to run with them. Christian says his TIR team was next-to-last that year, but he enjoyed the race & felt inspired to continue running. He joined a couple running clubs & started incorporating harder, faster workouts into his training routine. Today he volunteers for Power In Motion & Runner’s High Club. During his first 2 years of running Christian always wore a shirt, even in the hot summer months, because he was embarrassed by his tattoo. He thought his running buddies would think less of him if they saw it. Then one day when the heat index was almost 100 degrees, he decided to run without a shirt. To his surprise, no one commented about the tattoo. He was sure they were thinking about it & just did not say anything, but a few days later he ran without a shirt for the second time & again no one said anything. Finally, after a week of running without a shirt, someone asked him about the tattoo, but not in a condescending way like Christian expected. Instead his friend just wanted to know the story behind it. Today he feels like it is a reminder of his troubled past, but also a profound testimony of a changed life. His running times have also improved tremendously in recent months. This past year he set personal records in almost every race he ran. He also captained a TIR team, but instead of finishing next-to-last, they won the Mixed division & were 2nd overall!