David Torrence Legacy Foundation to hold youth race in Peru

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David Torrence (center) runs alongside Peruvian kindergarteners during a school visit while training for the 2016 Summer Olympics. On Sunday, Dec. 16, Peruvian runners ages 5 to 18 will compete in a cross country race being held in Torrence’s memory in Huancayo, Peru. Contributed Photo

On Sunday, Peruvian runners ages 5 to 18 will compete in a cross country race being held in Torrence’s memory 

Olympic and professional middle-distance runner David Torrence was jaunting toward making his dream of aiding young runners in Peru, his mother’s native country, a reality before he died over six years ago.

Torrence, who represented Peru in the 5,000-meter race at the 2016 Olympics, wanted to establish healthy eating, exercise programs, and hold training clinics for young runners in the South American country. 

On Sunday, Peruvian runners ages 5 to 18 will compete in a cross country race being held in Torrence’s memory in Huancayo, a city in the central highlands of Peru. The race is being organized by the Dave Torrence Legacy Foundation. 

Malibu Realtor Bianca Torrence, David’s mother and the foundation’s president, said a number of young runners are expected to participate in the event. She said the running spectacle will include seven divisions of male and female runners. All the participants will receive a medal. The top three finalists of each category will receive prize money, Bianca said. 

“The prize money idea was so kids can have something for Christmas,” she said. “This is the first time we are trying this. They are excited and if this goes well we will do this every Christmas.”

David Torrence was found dead in a Scottsdale, Arizona, apartment complex’s swimming pool on Aug. 28, 2017. He was in Arizona training for a race. 

He died a little over a year after competing in the Olympics. Torrence had begun to set Peruvian running records in professional races after his appearance in the Olympics. Torrence was the first Peruvian to ever qualify for an Olympic final in track and the first Peruvian to run the mile in less than four minutes. Before, he donned Peru’s red and white colors on the track, Torrence competed in one-mile, as well as 800-, 1,000- 1,500-, 3,000- and 5,000-meter professional races across the globe for nine years. 

He was a standout runner at the University of California, Berkeley and before that a star runner at Loyola High School in Los Angeles.

The Malibuite often trained on the track at Pepperdine University or would run up and down Pacific Coast Highway. 

The David Torrence Family Foundation donated running shoes and other running gear such as shorts and T-shirts to 93 athletes at an event in Huancayo in April 2022.

David’s mother said promoting and supporting youth running events is challenging sometimes, but the kids’ excitement makes worth it.

“It truly is priceless,” Bianca Torrence said. “It warms my heart.”

Torrence said many Peruvian athletes are inspired by David’s belief that runners from the country could compete with the best in the world. 

“This message has, in essence, empowered kids,” she said. “They feel more confident. They feel the support or mental shift to believe in themselves. David used to say, ‘Don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot do it — even if its yourself.’”

Torrence said continuing her son’s dream of empowering young Peruvian athletes has given her life more meaning, purpose, and fulfillment. 

“I know we are making a difference,” she said. “Small progress with some of the athletes, but we try to be consistent. I honestly feel that David is proud and smiling in heaven. I am grateful for all the support to the David Torrence Legacy Foundation; every little bit helps.” 

For more information or to make donations, visit www.DTLF.org