Running for Her Life by Clare Gray

Running for Her Life by Clare Gray

Ana was born in the east of Cuba, in a small unremarkable town. She was a cheerful child and loved running from early childhood. Sport was important not only for her, but also for her family. The Cuban government was interested in good doctors, smart teachers and strong athletes. At the age of ten, Ana became a good runner. She won most of the competitions in running, some of them – barefoot. The girl was training every day. She worked hard and waited for that moment, when someone would notice her. In the end, she succeeded – the girl was invited to one sports school. Other children were tall and strong, and the girl herself began to lose speed. She was getting heavier and slower. But soon Ana met a man who helped her regain motivation. She obtained a new life goal.

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Running for Her Life by Clare Gray

Ana woke up. Fidel Castro was by her bedside. “I will run again,” she told him. Then her eyes closed.

Ana Fidelia Quirot was born in a small town in the east of Cuba. She was a happy child and from an early age she loved running. Sports were important to her family and they were important to Cuba, too. The Cuban government wanted to produce the best doctors, the smartest teachers, and the strongest sports players in the world. There were special government schools for intelligent young scientists and for children who were good at sports.

By the time she was ten years old Ana could run very fast. Soon she was winning races-often without shoes! She wanted someone from a government sports school to see her. Ana knew that only Cuba’s best students were chosen. So she practiced hard every day. At last she heard the news that she was waiting for. At thirteen she had a place at a government sports school. “If I work hard,” she thought, “I can be the fastest girl in Cuba.”

The other children at Ana’s new school were tall and strong. But Ana’s body was changing. She stopped growing taller and started growing fatter. She felt heavier too, so she practiced less often. Ana’s future did not seem bright and exciting to her now.

But when Ana’s school asked her to leave, she thought very carefully.

Running for Her Life by Clare Gray

She realized that she loved her school and her life there. It was her dream and she did not want to lose it. Luckily, Blas Beato, one of Cuba’s most famous running teachers, knew about Ana. She was heavy, but she was strong and fast. Beato could see that. “Try the 400-meter race,” he said. “I think you can be the best.”

It was not easy, but with Beato’s help, Ana quickly became thinner. She pushed her body hard, and began winning races at school again. Soon she was the fastest girl in Cuba at 400 and 800 meters. Her mind became stronger, too. She learned to fight against pain and to believe in her dreams.

Ana finished school and practiced harder and longer every day. In 1987 she won two gold medals at the Pan American Games’ in Indianapolis, in the US, and in 1989 she won all of her 800-meter races. Ana was very proud to run for her country. Now her name was famous around the world.

Four years after her double gold medal success in Indianapolis, Ana was ready to run again in the Pan Am Games. These races were very important to Ana because the Pan Am Games were coming to Cuba. She was Cuba’s most famous runner-and her country was watching her…

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