Ruben Sanca was born in Cape Verde and came to US in 1999 when he was 12 years old. While in his pre-teen years, being a runner never really crossed his mind. He loved the sport of soccer and dreamed of one day playing the World Cup. As a young child, he had several asthma attacks and was known in the family as the “sick kid” who always had some health issues. He was prescribed inhalers but never used them because he was afraid of becoming dependent on them. Ruben suffered a lot in his early years and albuterol syrup was often his only remedy.
Everything changed when Ruben came to the US. He found out my asthma attacks were related to a lot of the dust allergies in Cape Verde. When he was at the Dearborn Middle School, he was recruited by my middle school teacher to run track. He was one of the slowest guys on the team, as he still suffered from asthma. Once he made it to the John D. O’Bryant High School, his primary care physician mentioned that his asthma was becoming non-existent. During that time, Ruben noticed a rapid improvement in his breathing and eventually his running.
Years later, Ruben found himself competing at the high school national track and field championships and the NCAA collegiate national championships. He returned to Cape Verde to win several track and road racing national championships. In 2011, he represented Cape Verde at the World Championships in South Korea, and in 2012 at the Olympic Games in England.
Ruben currently balances his running with his full-time job as a business manager in the division of student affairs at his alma mater, UMass Lowell. He plans to qualify for the Olympic Games again for 2016!