Rio Reina (right) training with fellow elites David Fuentes and Mitch Ammons

Rio Reina isn’t about to slow down. Reina, who ran for distance powerhouse University of Arkansas where he set a 10K PR of 30:15, is on the move and training hard. Now 35, he recently moved back to Austin from the west coast and couldn’t be happier.

Competing at the Zilker Relays, Reina helped pull his team to third place, notching sub-five-minute miles on his 2.5-mile leg of the relay race. “Zilker felt really good for me! I only ran 5:43 pace last year for 2.5 miles, so 4:59 pace was a really big jump,” said Reina. “I do feel like I have more improvements ahead, but I really liked being competitive again and racing!  Getting the fitness back is one thing but being a part of such a great running community is definitely the best part!” said Reina. “I’m happy I moved back to Austin. This city is the best.”

Many top collegiate runners find it difficult to keep training at a high level once they graduate. It’s not uncommon for them to just run recreationally. But some still have the fire. Count Reina in that group.

Reina comes from a regular running dynasty. His father Randy, who also ran for Arkansas, has a 2:14 marathon to his credit. Uncles Reuben and Roland competed as Razorbacks as well. “My dad and uncles still stay very active,” said Reina. “Our family has done a great job keeping fitness a part of their daily lives. My dad is sixty-three and still cranks 100-mile bike rides.”

“My dad is a big reason why I’ve stayed interested in the sport. He did a great job helping me build running into my daily habits when I was growing up. Even when I didn’t have competitive goals, I still ran easy. RAW Running and the community really lit a fire in me again to start wanting to put the work in. I met a lot of people there and started going to other groups to do social training. It’s getting me back to being fit again. I only do it now because it’s so much fun to do with friends.”

Reina’s current training revolves around 60–80-mile weeks, along with a lot of cross-training (cycling, swimming, rock climbing) and weights. Core workouts include either a 10–14-mile steady state or 10x800m with a fast float. Saturdays are reserved for an 18-22 mile long run with a faster finish.

“I feel like every PR is on the table,” said Reina, who graduated from Arkansas in 2010 with a degree in finance and now works as a business development executive for the CE Shop, a provider of online professional education focusing primarily on mortgage and real estate.

“My marathon PR is probably the most attainable,” said Reina. (He’s only run three—one clocking 2:36 and twice at 2:30). He also has his eye on his half-marathon best. “The actual PR I want to hunt down is the 1:05:41 I ran at the 2013 San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon,” he said. “I loved that race. Eliud Kipchoge and Meb Keflezighi were both in that race and neither won!”

“One thing I can say about Rio — he’s one of the toughest runners I’ve ever met,” said former Arkansas teammate Scott MacPherson, a three-time Statesman Capitol 10,000 champ now living in Hawaii. “I know that whether I’m training or racing with him, when it gets tough, he’s one of the guys who’s going to grind it out. I have a lot of respect for him.”

Upcoming Races: Saturday, September 24 at 9:00 a.m., DeerPark Ranger Run 5K at Deerpark Middle School, Austin. : Saturday, September 24 at 8:00 a.m., ZERO Prostate Cancer 5K Run at Concordia University. Saturday, October 1 at 7:30 a.m., the Goggle It 5K at Lehman High School, Kyle.