Foresthill teen is a running machine

Jonathan Huerta is into ultrarunning - at the age of 14
By: Todd Mordhorst
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FORESTHILL — Jonathan Huerta’s friends at Foresthill High School are more
likely to volunteer for an extra homework assignment than join him on one of
his weekend jogs.
“They just say, ‘Have fun,’” Huerta said.
Huerta’s hobby is ultrarunning, and he’s building quite a résumé even though
he can’t yet drive. At age 14, he has completed 41 races and hasn’t quit
one. Though he only recently began running ultra distances – anything more
than 26.2 miles – Huerta is racking up miles that most people twice his age
have a tough time comprehending.
On a rainy day in the Bay Area last month, Huerta ran 50.9 miles in under 10
hours at the San Francisco One Day Run. His mother, Lisa, who completed the
Western States 100-miler in 2006, ran 53.1 miles.
“I’m faster than she is, but only on short distances,” Jonathan conceded.
Huerta has ideal training grounds right outside his door in Foresthill. He
and his mother often go on 18-mile runs on a portion of the Western States
Trail. It’s a trail he hopes to see in its entirety in a little more than
three years, when he’s eligible for the most prestigious endurance run in
the world.
“You have to be 18 to run,” Huerta said.
Huerta ran his first 10-kilometer race at the age of 8. He completed a
half-marathon one year later and ran a 50K when he was 13.
Next on his agenda is a 100K race next year, though he isn’t sure when or
where. While Huerta doesn’t have blazing speed – he has yet to break six
minutes in the mile – he said ultrarunning is about mental toughness.
“I always go for the finish,” he said. “You just have to put one foot in
front of another.”
In between training runs, Huerta works out at Auburn Racquet Club. He has
excellent strength for a runner.
“He benched 185 pounds last year when he was 13,” father Tim Huerta said.
He also plays racquetball and is an avid swimmer. Huerta began running with
his twin sister, Jodie, but she has since lost interest. Jonathan has
overcome athletic-induced asthma to accomplish his running feats. He carries
an inhaler on the trail.
In his most recent race this month, Huerta finished the Helen Klein 30K
Classic in 3:28.53.