With four days until the New York Marathon, Antonio Tizapa, a Mexican immigrant, maintains that his training regime is simple: he gets home at 5p, eats a light pasta meal for his dinner in his apartment in south Brooklyn, changes his clothes and steps outside for a run just as the street lights are coming on.
Tizapa has a lean build and a low resting heart rate. For warmth he wears a dark hoodie with a white cotton shirt over it, without sleeves, like a basketball jersey. This results in the image of a solemn young man on the front, and above it the words, “My son is your son, and your son is my son.”
An unexplained disappearance of students in Ayotzinapa sparked fierce protests in all of Mexico. In December, President Enrique Pea Nieto urged the Mexican people to accept that the students were dead, and move forward.
The 43 families of the missing students claim that their children are alive. They have asked international scientists to review the case, particularly after the Mexican government’s official account was rejected by an independent forensic commission. This account had said that the students had been incinerated at a garbage dump.
Anger and frustration are two emotions that recur in Tizapa’s account since the day that his son disappeared. These two emotions were what led him to print the shirt that he wears. He is angry at the ineptitude and corruption of the government investigation.
The 21-year-old and his missing classmates were part of a university program that trained students to teach in remote disadvantaged villages that often do not have electricity. These villages can only be accessed through difficult routes on foot. Tizapa has said that his son’s ability to unite people through teaching, inspired him to use running as a method of connecting with others.
Tizapa trains for his marathon-running on Coney Island sand to get the strength, uses Prospect Park’s hills to build muscle, and goes for long city street runs. He says races have the power to give people awareness of themselves, teach them how to become faster and stronger, and reconnect them with their body and nature.