A ‘Win’ for the Ayotzinapa 43 at the NYC Marathon

  • Antonio Tizapa ran the New York City Marathon in 3:44:16
  • He led the group of at least 12 runners that wore shirts stating support for Ayotzinapa
  • Many volunteers showed solidarity displaying photos of the 43 students through the race route
Antonio Tizapa ran the last yards of the NYC Marathon carrying the photo of his son. Gustavo Martínez Contreras

Antonio Tizapa ran the last yards of the NYC Marathon carrying the photo of his son.

Published in Voices of NY

Antonio Tizapa felt his legs could not take another step when he was just a few yards away from the New York City Marathon finishing line, but then he saw the photo of his son in the crowd.

“I was running very slowly because I had no strength and just then I saw his image; my brother was holding it and he hadn’t seen me. I approached and took it from him,” Tizapa said. “It was wonderful, being able to finish the race with him, with the support of the people, and that made me run faster in those last meters.”

Tizapa, 48, and about a dozen other runners in Sunday’s race were the foot soldiers for a local campaign to extend to the world of sports the call for justice for the 43 Ayotzinapa students forcibly disappeared in México on Sept. 26, 2014.

His son, Jorge Antonio Tizapa Legideño, is among those still missing. And to drill the message even deeper, for the marathon he wore a shirt with a big number 43 along with the message: My son is your son, and your son is my son.

“We wanted to send a message to the Mexican government that Mexican athletes abroad are aware of what’s happening in Mexico. And I believe that what we did here today will impact positively the fight of all the (Ayotzinapa) parents and it will also impact negatively the Mexican government and all the lies they have been saying all along,” Tizapa said.

The group had organized to have people hold the photos of every one of the 43 students at each kilometer of the race. Given that a marathon consists of 42 kilometers, they titled their action “42 for 43”.

The images with the faces of many of the students were visible at various points of the race, but Tizapa said there was no tally of how many people participated. Still, it felt like a victory in the uphill battle he has been fighting since his son and his classmates went missing.

“At least now the world knows we were here. That satisfies me greatly. Because people screamed their support from the crowd, and some took videos and photos. So, all of this information is being disseminated and it’s reaching all levels. And that’s the most important thing. We don’t have anything more to do than to keep spreading this message and demanding for the safe return of our kids,” he said.

About Gustavo Martínez Contreras

was born in Texas, brewed in Mexico City, seasoned in the Mexico-United States border, aged walking the streets of Philadelphia. He had a short-lived stint eating grits, fried chicken, and peaches in Atlanta. He later became a béisbol writer for El Diario de Nueva York. He has written about immigrant communities in English, Spanish, and some Spanglish. Although he does not have a shelf full of awards, Gustavo has received thank you notes and hugs from people who have trusted him with their stories. His work has appeared in Voices of New York, El Diario/La Prensa, Dallas’ Al Día, The Philadelphia Public School Notebook, Philadelphia Weekly, Radio Bilingüe, Latina Lista, Spot.us, among others. He is currently pursuing a master's degree at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
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