Guided by the Spirit

David Torrence (center) runs alongside Peruvian kindergarteners during a school visit while training for the 2016 Summer Olympics. 

When Bianca Torrence goes for a run, there is often an unseen force propelling her forward. 

It’s her son, David Torrence. 

Bianca, a Malibu Realtor, feels David, who died a little over three years ago, urging her to continue to put one foot in front of the other. 

“I feel his spirit, and I feel him talking to me,” Bianca said. “He is guiding me through the process. I’m very much in contact with his energy.”

The memory of David, a professional middle-distance runner who competed for Team Peru in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, and his hopes, pushed Bianca to start the David Torrence Legacy Foundation (DTLF), a nonprofit organization with a mission of helping young runners shine in their sport. 

Bianca launched the DTLF website on Aug. 28, the anniversary of her son’s passing in 2017. The webpage features a picture of David, a list of his many accomplishments and the foundation’s goal of helping novice runners in the U.S. and Peru, Bianca’s native country.  

DTLF will establish scholarships for cross country or track athletes at Malibu High School as well as Loyola High School, David’s alma mater, in Los Angeles. In Peru, the foundation will align with Peru Runners, an organization focused on identifying and nurturing talented but inexperienced racers. 

“In David’s memory, we created a foundation to provide resources, education and scholarships to young runners so they can be the best they can be,” Bianca said. “Here or worldwide. We can spread out. Right now, we are in the beginning stages, but if there is a lot of support, we can help more young athletes. It gives me satisfaction that I am continuing what David wanted to do.” 

David was a successful athlete at the University of California, Berkley, before beginning his standout professional running career in 2009. He competed in the 800-meter, 1,500-meter, 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter races throughout his career and set a handful of records as an American athlete. 

David changed his nationality to Peruvian months before the 2016 Summer Olympics in order to represent the South American nation in 2016’s sporting showcase. The runner set a national record for the nation in the 5,000-meter at the summer games. David set a few other Peruvian records before his passing a little over a year later.

David’s mother announced the creation of the organization and the launch of its website with a Facebook post. She also asked for donations. Several commenters said they would support the foundation and commended Bianca for launching it. 

Diane Leidy called the move a wonderful tribute to David, his passion and talent. 

“I’m honored to donate to his legacy,” she typed. 

Jesus Rodriguez gave DTLF his best wishes to help young athletes reach their dreams. 

“Les deseo lo major! [I wish you all the best!]” he wrote. “USA—Peru!” 

Bianca often receives text messages from David’s supporters and peers in the running community. 

“David has touched so many lives,” she said. “It is mind-blowing. I had a son that was an Olympian, and he is such an amazing guy.”

David had an affinity for his mother’s home country.

In an interview with The Malibu Times, the elite runner, 31 at the time of his death, expressed interest in helping youth runners in Peru to reach their protentional. 

“I might try to run a camp or two,” he said once. 

Bianca said David had dreams and goals for Peruvian competitors. 

“In the USA, there are a lot of resources,” she said. “In Peru, there is hardly any means for some people. David wanted to help young athletes because there is a lot of potential.” 

Bianca aims for the foundation to provide burgeoning Peruvian runners with shoes and running gear and to help them train better.

“There is a lot of talent, but there isn’t a good structure for them or resources for them to excel,” she noted. “Hopefully, we can give them the means to travel internationally so they can compete.”

Bianca said David wanted her to go to Peru to promote healthy eating amongst athletes. 

“In Peru, there are a lot of organic foods and a lot of power foods to get a good diet,” she said. 

The younger Torrence was also an advocate for antidoping in sports. Bianca said DTLF is against performance enhancing drugs. 

Eventually, DTLF will organize a local turkey trot (a Thanksgiving run) and mile run in David’s memory. 

Bianca said David is a force with the foundation. 

“I feel like he is really happy that he can inspire people. and there is a lot of good things coming out of this,” she said. 


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