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Milwaukee’s Buena Tierra Run Club nurtures Latino health & culture 

todayFebruary 12, 2024 2 5

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A decade ago, Patrick Chaves first found solace in running during a challenging time in his life. His journey and passion grew in 2019 when he trained for the Milwaukee Marathon. But last year, when Patrick ran the Chicago Marathon, he was inspired by the Latino community in the Pilsen neighborhood. “It brought me so much joy to run [in a place] that embraced their culture with pride,” he said. “I wanted to create something for our Latino community here in Milwaukee.” Chaves is a first-generation Costa Rican. 

The joy Chaves witnessed running through Chicago’s neighborhoods influenced him to start the Buena Tierra Run Club. In October of 2023, Chaves enlisted the help of his partner Mylah Rice, and their friends, Carter Amundson, organizer of Black and Brown Run Around 5K and Jesus A. Hernandez, a personal trainer, to bring their passion for movement and diversity to Milwaukee. The group’s members run in all types of weather. Buena Tierra’s mission is to prioritize Latino community health through running, fostering inclusivity, and accountability at all levels. “The Latino community talks about the hustle and grind but during the process we forget about our physical and mental health,” Chaves said. 

Building alliances and community partnerships is important to Buena Tierra. They have support from the Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee and continue to seek more diverse partners interested in creating accessible and diverse movement spaces in Milwaukee. 

“Our goal is to create spaces where all people, not just Latino, come as themselves at whatever level they are at, to set a goal – to walk, jog, or run, and be held accountable to a community they can lean on,” Chaves said. 

Free and inclusive, Buena Tierra’s meetups are accessible to all communities and remove barriers to transportation. The group meets on Wednesdays at 6:00 p.m. in the Menomonee Valley at City Lights Brewing Co., 2200 W. Mt. Vernon Ave. “The Valley is very central and connected to the Hank Aaron State Trail. The safety of our runners is our number one priority, so we look for routes with minimal road traffic, less crossing of intersections, and ample street lighting,” Chaves said.

The group also meets on Sundays at 9:00 a.m. at the Colectivo on the Lakefront, 1701 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr. 

In the future, Chaves plans to have more members so the group can be divided into smaller groups by pace, so that everyone has support. Buena Tierra also wants a deeper presence in the community by collaborating with other run clubs or organizations, like F.E.A.R. MKE, OMG, Badgerland Striders, Black Girls Run, MKE Run Club, Black Men Run, and Performance Running Outfitters, and more, to promote diversity in running events. 

“Running is accessible for all fitness levels and the only entry cost is often a pair of shoes,” Chaves said. 

Wanting to promote an environment of fitness for all backgrounds and abilities, Buena Tierra provides inclusivity in club marketing materials and communications and supports. She participates in other community running events that embrace diversity. 

Are you thinking about showing up at the Buena Tierra Run Club? Here are some reminders: 

  • First-time members are asked to fill out the liability waiver here
  • The group meets on Wednesdays at 6:00 p.m. in the Menomonee Valley at City Lights Brewing Co., 2200 W. Mt. Vernon Ave. 
  • The group also meets on Sundays at 9:00 a.m. at the Colectivo on the Lakefront, 1701 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr. 
  • When everyone arrives, there will be announcements and introductions, a warm-up, reviewing of the route, and then meet back at the starting point for a cool-down stretch and networking at either City Lights Brewing or Colectivo.  
  • Buena Tierra Run Club members receive a 10 percent discount at Performance Running Outfitters (PRO). After attending a run with the group, please mention that you run with Buena Tierra and show them you follow @BuenaTierraRunClub on Instagram. PRO is a big supporter of the fitness and running community in Milwaukee. 

Of course, because this interview was conducted for HYFIN, a Radio Milwaukee station, we had to ask Chaves what was on his running playlist. “Depending on my mood, I listen to electronic dance music (EDM), hip-hop, reggaetón, or something ranging 160-175 beats per minute. And I’ll drive home with the HYFIN app playing [through the car speakers],” Chaves said.  

Want to learn more about Buena Tierra Run Club, follow them on Instagram @BuenaTierraRunClub or on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Strava or email questions to [email protected]

Written by: Rae Johnson

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