Roberto Maqueda Gutiérrez fully understands the gift of life.
Two weeks after his younger brother, Iván, died in a head-on automobile accident in 2015 while heading from Fresno to Santa María, Maqueda Gutiérrez became the father of a son.
He believes his son was born to ease the pain of having lost his brother.
“Iván is my motivation in many aspects of my life,” said Maqueda Gutiérrez, who expects to earn his masters degree in student affairs and counseling from Fresno State next May. “I admire his determination and perseverance to overcome life challenges and never give up.
“He inspires me to become a better person every day.”
That is why the 35-year-old native of Quéretaro, México will take part in Sunday’s Two Cities Marathon. His brother’s name will be written on his bib.
Maqueda Gutiérrez has also started a Go Fund Me account https://www.gofundme.com/Ivan-Two-Cities-Marathon in an effort to raise $5,000 to create a scholarship in his brother’s name for Fresno City College students in the EOPS program.
Iván was born with a congenital heart defect known as Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome (HRHS), yet overcame many obstacles.
“Iván was excited to start his first semester at Fresno City College. He had shared with me that his life goal was to be a counselor so that he could help others out who had gone through similar life experiences as him,” said Maqueda Gutiérrez.
Iván was 25 years old when he died. He was a volunteer at Hope Lutheran Church and WestCare.
“He liked helping others,” said Maqueda Gutiérrez.
Maqueda Gutiérrez, who is married with two sons, ran the Two Cities Marathon in 2011, his first marathon, and had no plans to run another.
However, he decided to run the 2016, 2017 and 2018 marathons in memory of his brother. This year, he added the scholarship fundraiser.
The scholarship will help other students, which is something Iván wanted to do.
Roberto Maqueda Gutiérrez
“I think it will be something that will continue,” he said about running Two Cities.
Maqueda Gutiérrez, who graduated from Santa María High School, does not consider himself a runner, having played soccer most of his life.
In 2011, a friend convinced him to run the Fresno Classic Half Marathon. A few months later, he found himself running the Two Cities Marathon.
Maqueda Gutiérrez began training for the marathon a month ago. He expects to finish between 4 hours, 45 minutes and 5 hours.
The time is not the main goal. Maqueda Gutiérrez wants to raise awareness about the scholarship fundraiser.
If he gets to $5,000, the State Center Community College Foundation will match dollar-for-dollar to establish an endowed scholarship.
“The scholarship will help other students, which is something Iván wanted to do,” said Maqueda Gutiérrez, who also has two sisters.