Footnote N°04

Coza was one of five runners who met at Rancho Cienega Track in the Crenshaw District in South Central L.A. Together, they built something that seemed impossible—a Perpétuum Móbile: The Good Vibes Track Club. This crew sustains a self-renewing drive fueled by shared goals, camaraderie, and a relentless passion for running.

Photography and Interview by Christian Brecheis

NEAR EARTH — As a photographer I’m really drawn to the story of Good Vibes Track Club. The first time we met, you and some guys were preparing bottles for the team racing the LA Marathon the next day.

COZA ESPINOZA — I think what makes us, GVTC, different is we just wanna see our runners win, period. From the tough training sessions, to the coaching, I feel when we connect and create a bond with runners we tend to build a strong and hungry group that all want to reach a goal… from them accomplishing their first mile non stop , completing a marathon or finally getting that big PR in a race.  

"It was pretty simple, five of us […] just wanted to add some speed sessions to our training programs"

NE — What was it even like when you started Track Tuesday at Rancho Cienega Track in Crenshaw?

COZA — When we started running on the track at rancho… it was pretty simple, five of us runners that just wanted to add some speed sessions to our training programs. It only took some time before folks started getting curious, and would often ask other co-founders and me about the club like “Hey, can I come run?” And little by little the group started to grow. We actually went a whole year without a name after finally settling on Good Vibes Track Club.

NE — I remember coming out for a track session and there was a mom who had her a baby sleeping in a stroller on the side doing a workout on the track, a group of fast runners doing intervals and everyone in between. It might sound chaotic but everything just fell into place and it felt like a group session. 

COZA — Of course, we’ve had mothers like you said, and other community members just show up or sometimes have their children run with us. Most of the time they don’t have a race in mind or anything planned they just want to show up for the workout. We are performance based so all the workouts have a specific meaning behind them, so to watch the growth of some runners during their marathon prep is amazing to witness. I like to call it organized chaos because it only takes a couple of sessions and everyone just seems to sync. Once runners catch their groove and find a group to run, these tough sessions seem to flow.

NE — During your, you call it "seasons", when it’s time to do the long runs, there’s this group dynamic where you have guys putting up tables and doing water support. Whenever there’s a race, there’s a GVTC cheer zone. Does this take a lot of organizing behind the scenes?

COZA — Honestly, it does, but it’s worth it. You’ll often hear us say… “We all we need” and it can’t be more true. Some of the founders and captains are really good at organizing volunteers and spreading out responsibilities for our water stations and cheer zones. As you know from hanging out at the cheer zones yourself… they’re always crazy but in a good way. I think everyone would agree, there is nothing better or more gratifying then having family, friends, and teammates cheer for you during a race. 

NE — What kind of sports did you do when you were a kid?

COZA — I played baseball, that was my passion as a kid and a big reason why I still enjoy it til’ this day. I would often try to emulate all my favorite players and watch almost every game I could. Once high school came around soccer, track and cross country took almost all my time. It was around this time I began to understand and enjoy the group dynamic of a team.

NE — Did these sports have a certain vibe or sports culture elements that you took to running or rediscover in running?

COZA — Definitely, I feel I take a little from every sport that I played, but running cross country in high school really helped me acknowledge that the bond you build with your team is all you got. 

You can’t win a team race by yourself. GVTC is that same feeling, we all put that hard work in, we put that group training in, we all support one another. So to watch teammates really go all in and hit PR’s that just motivates me even more.

"You can’t win a team race by yourself. GVTC is that same feeling, we all put that hard work in, we put that group training in, we all support one another."

NE — You’re a fast runner, but I think I have never heard you talk about your splits, paces or finishing times. What’s your approach to racing?

COZA — My approach to racing is pretty simple, I know all the hard work that’s gotten me to this point, all that training you do when no one is around, and all that sacrificing you gotta do with time, family, parties, etc…That’s what motivates me. Race day is simply the icing on the cake. An old HS coach of mine would often keep his motivating talks real short and to the point. I feel I’m the same way, on race day I try to remain as calm as possible and just go through my routine. I try to pass that same energy to my teammates, I want them to remain as calm as possible before it’s time to race.

NE — The past year you ran a very fast half-marathon, you must have had high ambitions for the BMW Berlin Marathon?

COZA — Yeah I ran a 1:14..I did well for my age I think. So entering the Berlin Marathon training block I felt good. The training went well for the most part, little nagging injuries here and there but that’s marathoning right? Nonetheless, still managed to knock out the workouts and felt really confident going into the race. Unfortunately, It didn’t go as planned, but I managed to pull myself together and cross the line at 3:00hrs. When a big race like this doesn’t go as planned it’s very humbling and kinda makes you rethink everything you did or didn’t do to get ready for the race. Honestly, I believe its something you learn over time, races don’t often go your way, but when they do, it makes the race that much more special.

NE — I like your thinking. This means you’re going into a new season with Good Vibes and you’ll give it another shot?

COZA — Of course, I’m always gonna give it another shot, I have to, It’s just who I am. Another season of training around the team will always keep me motivated. The beautiful thing about running is it gives you plenty of time to think and listen to your thoughts.