As in most human endeavors, it is excellent leadership that propels a good running club forwards. Miguel Lopez provided that leadership for the Tornados Running Club for 16 years. Miguel is the kind of leader that motivates by example. Year after year he is always one of the top finishers, if not the top, in his age group. We have always known him to talk with his legs and when the race is over to give a firm handshake that communicates respect.
Miguel started running in 1985 at the age of 35, after years of cycling. That same year he ran the Woodlands Marathon in 3:15, eventually cutting his time down to 2:40. He soon got his brothers involved in the sport. The next year his younger brother, Gerardo, beat him in the Galveston Marathon, finishing second overall. Miguel and his brothers loved to compete against each other. Miguel said of these competitions, there is nothing better than competing and winning. A few friends joined the Lopez brothers over the next couple of years in their training and competitions. And it was from the Lopez family and their friends that “the running family” – the Tornados Running Club was born.
They officially founded the Tornados in 1988. Miguel chose the name Tornados because it symbolized speed and also carried a connotation of destruction! Some early members were Jose Torres, Isreal Arroyo, Victor Tinajera and Jaime Rodriguez. They lived up to their name by defeating the Harriers the second year of the HARRA competitions. Miguel’s tradition of hard work combined with respect is being carried forward today by his son Miguel Lopez, Jr. and by his nephew’s Gerardo and Pete Lopez. They are quickly gaining on one of Houston’s fastest masters and will certainly carry the Tornado tradition of running excellence into the future.