California State University, Stanislaus graduate and current Turlock resident Joey Nunes, 26, came from humble beginnings. He is the son of Portuguese immigrants from the island of Madeira.
Nunes was, admittedly, kind of loser through much of his teenage years.
But Nunes is a perfect example that sometimes it’s those who stay in the pack that have the best of “kicks” — you know that final push of pure determination and force that only world-class distance runners possess.
After lacking the motivation to get college-ready grades, failing to make the basketball team, the baseball team, the wrestling team and even the golf team at Livermore High School Nunes discovered his gift — long distance running and his life has been a sprint ever since.
His senior year at LHS, he ran his way to a spot on the varsity cross country team. Then he ran at the junior college level before earning a scholarship for cross country/track & field at CSU Stanislaus, where in 2009-10 he was named the Cross Country male athlete of the year and is currently sixth all-time at the University in his signature event — the 10,000 meter run.
Nunes graduated CSU Stanislaus with honors and 3.49 GPA. But the one-time slug-bug of a boy had only just begun to soar as a young man.
Following graduation he earned a job as a graduate student assistant at Northwest Missouri State University, where he also earned a Master’s Degree.
After the 2013 track season he pursued cross country coaching in Alaska and earlier this year he returned to Turlock to begin his training in pursuit of his ultimate dream — to run for the Portugal National Team.
The best way to accomplish his dream is to reach his immediate goal of competing in Portugal on the race circuit. That starts with the Portuguese Road Racing Championships to be held in Lisbon, Portugal in mid-January 2015.
And he’s got the kick to do it. Last week Nunes competed at the U.S. Army 10-Miler in Washington D.C. and finished with his best day ever.
“I had a career day, improving my personal best 10 mile time by 2 minutes and 47 seconds [and running other personal best en route]. I finished in 21st place with a time of 50:17. That is 5:01 per mile,” said Nunes. “Based on the 2013-2014 outdoor rankings, provided on the Federação Portuguesa de Atletismo webpage, my personal best in the 10,000-meter run (31:06) would currently land me 12th on that list this year.”
Joey’s plan is to travel to Lisbon several weeks before the championship race in order to acclimate his body to the environment and negate the effects of jet lag. It will be his first time in Portugal since he was four years old.
Joey says he needs $2,400 from the community to help him reach his dream. On his GoFundMe page he explained the finances.
“I am looking to obtain 60% of my funds through gofundme and I will provide the final 40% through part-time work in the fall. I am currently exploring other cheaper options but here are the numbers if I were to go the traditional route of staying at a hotel.”
The flight plus hotel will cost an estimated $2,500 (no breakfast provided), 3 meals for 14 days will be about $700 ($10 breakfast, $15 lunch and $25 dinner) — runners need their carbs. Travel expenses $800 (currency exchange, unexpected costs, transportation costs).
In total, the estimated cost will be $4,000 and Joey can contribute $1,600. The other $2,400 is where the Turlock community can come in and help this remarkable runner and young man reach his dream.
To help contribute, visit http://www.gofundme.com/joeynunesrunning.
Any amount of money will be helpful. To read more about Joey visit http://www.joeynunes.com/.