Real Athlete is an ongoing series of interviews with inspirational, out gay athletes from around the world. Are you a Real Athlete? Take our Real Athlete Survey.
Frontrunner Carl Maravilla, 41, of Redondo Beach, Calif., heads to the Gay Games to defend his medal streak.
Are you on a team? What are your events?
I’m with the Los Angeles Frontrunners and Team LA. We are sprinters and distance runners. I have been competitive at every Gay Games. I set a Gay Games record in the 1,500-meter race during Gay Games III, my first at the Games. I also compete in the 5K and 10K.
What is your goal for Gay Games Chicago 2006?
I have one a bronze, silver, or gold medal in each event at every Gay Games I have participated in. My goals are to win a medal in each event again, and to reconnect with all of my friends from other countries and across the United States for as much fun as possible.
What impact has participating in the Gay Games had on your life?
As an athlete is an incredible experience to compete with other LGBT people and friends and to simultaneously grow together. Every aspect of the games is moving: the competition, the cultural and the political.
I wrote a short story about my first games that was on the federation website. Winning my first gold in the 1,500 meters and setting a record and personal best was and is the top experience of my life. I had dedicated my races to Tom, my first lover who had recently died of AIDS.
How long have you been playing your sport? What role does it play in your life?
I have run competitively since I was a freshman in high school. That’s over 31 years!
I typically run two or more times per week. Favorite runs last about 50 minutes, cover seven or more miles in a beautiful setting, involving one or more friends.
Interview courtesy of the Gay Games VII organizers. For more information about this year's Gay Games and how you can participate, visit www.chicagogaygames.org.