LOS ANGELES (KTLA) – Jocelyn Rivas is a dreamer, on many levels.
The 24-year-old Los Angeles DACA recipient became the youngest person to complete 100 marathons when she crossed the finish line at the L.A. Marathon Sunday.
Rivas is also the youngest woman and youngest Latina to reach the feat, after setting the steep goal for herself years ago.
“Running means everything for me. It’s literally my happiness. I call if my other half,” Rivas told KTLA.
Rivas was born with a broken back, neck and feet. She had to be carried into the hospital the first year of her life atop a pillow, her body was so fragile. She was never supposed to walk, much less run. Doctors told her mother she would be wheelchair-bound.
A year later, Rivas’ recovery began. Her mother called it a miracle. Still, she was discouraged from participating in any strenuous activity.
In 2013, after watching the L.A. Marathon as a spectator, she decided she wanted to run one herself and did so the following year. Once she had a few more marathons under her belt, she was hungry for more, and set out to prove that she could accomplish anything she set her mind to.
In 2017, when she already had a few marathons under her belt, Rivas set the steep goal for herself. At the time, Rivas said she had reached a low point in her life. The Trump administration planned to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama-era program policy that protected 700,000 “Dreamers” like her from deportation.
“I want to prove to people that I am here to do good,” Rivas said. “I want to inspire people to go out there to do the things I’m doing, to know that they can do it, too. There’s no limit.”
Rivas wanted to complete her 100-marathon mission last year, but the cancelation of races amid the coronavirus pandemic threw a wrench in that dream. She had to squeeze multiple marathons in a short period of time. From Dec. 26 to Jan 3, Rivas ran six marathons in nine days in Florida.
“Oh, my God, I was dead,” she said about finishing that sixth run.
Now, along with her collection of medals, Rivas will be able to say she is a Guinness World Record holder.
“Wow,” L.A. Marathon officials wrote on Instagram, announcing Rivas had crossed the finish line Sunday. “Way to go Jocelyn, you’re an amazing inspiration. We’re so glad you chose Los Angeles Marathon for Number 100!”
Nicknamed “The Warrior,” Rivas posed with a banner commemorating her 100th race and was flanked by a U.S. and El Salvador flag on the stage where she celebrated her accomplishment.