Families who run marathons together, stay together. Or at least that's how the de Souza family operates!
Hailing from Sao Paulo, Brazil, Joao de Souza will be joined by his wife, Regina, and two daughters, Ana and Giovana, at this year's New York City Marathon. The whole family has been running together for years now, and we are privileged to have them represent Team Amazfit in NYC. But how did they get to this point?
Eight years ago, Joao made a decision that would change his life. He was overweight and unhappy with the state of his health, so he began dieting and using a smartwatch to meet his daily exercise goals. By replacing his commute with walking, tracking his movement throughout the day, and monitoring his calorie intake, Joao was able to lose nearly 30 kg (66 lbs) and drastically alter the trajectory of his fitness journey. Fast forward to today: the 2023 NYC Marathon will be his 15th marathon!
However, Joao was not the only family member who faced health challenges. His daughter, Ana, began running after struggling with anorexia, which helped her rediscover her love for exercise. After lots of training, she ran her first marathon in 2021 to celebrate her 21st birthday. Also, the youngest of the family, Giovana, has used running in order to overcome her Type 1 diabetes diagnosis and maintain her well-being.
Running has not only strengthened their family bond, but also ignited a passion within each of them that continues to grow with each day. To find out more about their inspirational story, we dove deeper with the de Souza family to understand what drives them.
Amazfit: How did this all begin? What made you all start running together?
Joao: In 2016, a colleague who was a trail runner suggested we sign up for a fun Color Run. My daughter Ana and I used to do short runs but never signed up for a race before. We registered for that race to incentivize my other daughter Giovana to start exercising. Both Giovana and my wife Regina were not runners at all prior to that. That was our first race together.
Amazfit: It's inspiring to all of us to see you competing as a family. What inspires all of you as athletes?
Ana: In general, our family. In our daily routines, it can be difficult to spend a lot of time together and communicate the feelings and hardships we face in our lives. But when we are running, we are there for each other, helping to keep the pace and motivate each other through the challenge.
"When we are running, we are there for each other, helping to keep the pace and motivate each other through the challenge."
Amazfit: What prompted the decision to run in the NYC Marathon this year?
Joao: Regina always said that she would never run a marathon; she preferred half marathons. In 2022, she came with me to the NYC Marathon to cheer me on, but the energy of the marathon was so contagious that she met me at the finish line and told me she needed to come back and compete. We don't run for performance or to break records. We run to celebrate our lives and our family, while doing something we love.
Amazfit: How have you all been preparing for this upcoming marathon?
Regina: We train every day of the week. We have easy stride training on Mondays, a tempo run on Wednesdays, thresholds on Friday, and a long run on the weekend. All other days are easy days. As preparation for the race, we also registered for several 15k and 30k races in Sao Paolo.
Amazfit: Which training features have you found most useful on your Amazfit Cheetah Pro?
Joao: I started a training plan using Zepp Coach about 14 weeks before this marathon, and have tried to stick to the plan since then.
Regina: I like the sleep and calorie tracking, and I think the sleep report from the Zepp app is more appealing than others I've used.
Giovana: A lightweight design and flawless GPS are most important to me.
Ana: I also prefer a flawless GPS signal and sharing with other apps like Strava.
Amazfit: With your differing schedules and lives, how do you all find balance?
Giovana: Running helps me keep my mental health balanced. During busy or stressful weeks as a veterinary medicine student, I allow myself to eat sweets or curl up and watch soap operas with my mom. Those breaks help me keep body and mind in balance.
Ana: With my current busy schedule, running is essential to keep my life "light and fun".
Regina: Keeping a stable and regular routine calms me down.
Thankfully, the de Souza family is not all serious running business. They enjoy spending time with each other watching various TV series together. Joao also enjoys photography in his spare time, and Regina spends much of her time taking care of their dogs and raising awareness on social media for animal rescue organizations. Ana and Giovana are both currently students, studying law and veterinary medicine, respectively. Outside of running and school, Ana loves reading and learning while Giovana likes to discover new local restaurants with her family.
The de Souza family also said they would love to travel "anywhere we can run together", with Ana stating that she hopes to one day complete the six World Marathon Majors.
We wish them all the best in the NYC Marathon, just a few days away! If you are intrigued by Team Amazfit, or you'd just like to share your fitness journey with other Amazfit fans, we would love to have you join our Sports or Outdoor Facebook groups and spark up some conversation.
Onward to New York, de Souza family!