Brotherly bonds forged while racing
Emerging around the corner in a cold sweat is junior Chris Razo. He speeds off in the final leg of the race when he suddenly glances behind him to see the rest of the runners. Among the other competing runners is freshman Josh Razo, his younger brother.
Chris and Josh began running at a young age for a different sport: soccer. They would often condition for their club team and played competitively until high school. They committed to cross country along with track and field afterward. Both joined the cross country team in sixth grade at Suzanne Middle School.
“I started running because I wanted to get better conditioning for soccer,” Chris said. “I decided to run at the end of cross country season freshman year because I liked the team, and I realized that I was actually good at it.”
Although Josh is two years younger than Chris, he strives to surpass Chris’s previous cross country times when he was a freshman. While on the way home from training and during practices, they often discuss races and their times.
“It’s nice [that Chris is around] because I always have him there to help and motivate me,” Josh said. “He keeps me humble, brings out the best [in me] and gets [me] to work really hard to catch [up to] him.”
Former Coach Jim Polite was a role model for Chris and introduced to Josh earlier in the 2019 season.
“The team is definitely a big part of why I enjoy cross country and track,” Chris said. “[But] I enjoyed chilling with Polite before races. One of my [favorite] experiences [in my running career] is joking around with Polite before [my] Azusa Pacific University race. I enjoyed it because it was just me joking around with Polite. It was one of those things that I obviously can’t do anymore, but it was nice just [talking] with my coach.”
However, Josh enjoys running to win and helping others at the same time. His primary motivations are to win medals, improve his running and to look to assist others who struggle on the course.
“I feel pumped up when I win and beat people, [which] makes it fun,” Josh said. “I’m really excited about getting first place, but I know that there are some things I can work on keeping my pace and helping others out [along the course].”
Besides running, Chris has two Advanced Placement classes and volunteers at the Pomona Hospital in his free time while Josh is taking two honors classes. Although practices do not interfere with their school schedule, both have little time on the weekends besides running.
“I like how I can compete during races and how I can use the workouts as a break from school and homework,” Chris said. “[Being able] to [have] a time to clear my mind from all schoolwork for a while [is helpful], and the team is great because it’s a good group of people.”
To prepare for meets, both brothers participate in the common practice of carbohydrate loading the night prior to the race. Carbo loads entail athletes consuming carbohydrates the night before to fuel their run the following day.
“The night before races, we enjoy carbo [loading],” Josh said. “[Usually when we eat things] such as salads, pastas and drinks, [we] feel better because [it gives us] energy to run much faster during the race.”
During training both brothers run the same practice course and compete for speed.
“While we’re practicing, I improve by trying to beat my brother because he’s faster than me, and when I push myself to get closer to him, I’m improving,” Josh said. “[But during races], the bond between my brother is a teammate bond because [I] want to do the best for my teammate and push him and myself to not let [us] down.”
After high school, Chris would like to continue running competitively in college. Josh has yet to consider the possibility of pursuing collegiate level running.
“I’m not really concerned with what school it would be because I still want to go to a college that has the majors I am interested in,” Chris said. “I would like to run in college if I was given the opportunity [to] but [running] after college [would be for leisure].”
By Matthew Au, Sports editor
Photo by Tristan Gonzalez