History of the Free Spirits
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed. It is the only thing that ever has."
- Margaret Mead
The Free Spirits Track Club Inc. was originally formed in 1968 as the San Antonio Marathon Association (SAMA) by Jesse Martinez and his Edison High School cross country team.
In the 70's we became the Free Spirits and today we are recognized by the State of Texas as the Free Spirits Track Club Inc. We are a 501c3 Public Charity. A few of the charities we support include Transplants for Children, Team RWB, Wounded Warrior Project, American Cancer Society and Any Baby Can.
It was established to raise funds for scholarships for cancer survivors (and other diseases and child abuse), to recognize our American Heroes and to promote track & field meets, running and athletic events in the San Antonio area.
We started the first three marathons in S.A. The Richard Lozano Marathon, the first in 1972. Richard was a Burbank High School graduate who died in a traffic accident coming home from Pan American University for his birthday.
We also sponsored the SAMA Distance Relays, and the Free Spirits Track Festival.
Arthur Rodriguez and Jesse Martinez have run the Free Spirits Track Festival continuously since the early 70’s. Volunteers such as Willie Canela, Stefanie Meyers, John Head, Coach Eddie Jordan, Coach Sandra Apolinar-Jordan, Marvin and Rebecca King, , Rosalyn and John Smith, Jane and Stefan Blomqvist, David Thurchak, and Howard Zing keep the track meets available each year for people of all ages. Although we have held the meets at many tracks throughout San Antonio, most have been at Antonian College Prep, St. Mary's Hall and MacArthur High School. Currently the meets are held at Brackenridge High School, south of downtown San Antonio on 400 Eagleland Dr. and S. St. Mary's St. track. All meets start at 6pm on Mondays in Jun & Jul. Registration is $2 per event and starts at 5:30 pm. You can register at any time before your events.
The American Hero 25k Relay was established to raise the funds for the charities and scholarships. The AH25k Relay committee includes: Jennifer Meils, Willie Canela, Stefanie Meyers and Jesse Martinez. Special thanks to Jennifer & Matt Meils (for producing) & Madelyn Victoria (vocalist) on our theme song "You Might Be My Hero."
Folks and organizations that have contributed their time and effort include: Richard Delgado and (Texas A&M University - San Antonio, Military Liaison), Jay Tope (DJ and owner of SAsports.com), Vanessa and Monica Del Fierro (owners of Mariachi Las Coronelas), Ashlee Rose, 2013 Texas Music Award Female Vocalist of the Year, Sara Centeno Band, Carissa Smith (Lady Heat Rays Cheerleaders), Donnie Edwards (rated world's best Elvis Presley Tribute Artist), Robert Hernandez (Urban Uniforms), and Jose Iniquez (IAAP Race Director), Texas A&M-San Antonio, San Antonio Our Kids Magazine.
And finally, our gratitude for the volunteers that have helped us throughout the years: Patricia Lejarzar, Misty Lejarzar Digges, Summer Melody Kline, James Dove, Derenda Villacillo, Jean Quintanilla.