Outreach comes naturally to Jimenez
Nov. 3, 2010
Natalie England, TexasSports.com
Running is easy for Betzy Jimenez. It’s also challenging, and that’s what makes it easy.
On the road, around the track, wherever, Jimenez just focuses on her breath and allows the mind to control the body.
“I’m not a big believer in talent, personally. I believe more in hard work and faith and where you find your strength,” Jimenez says. “It’s a reluctance to give up, and a belief that I can be the next great person. I don’t want to sell myself short, and I don’t want to be afraid.”
Jimenez moved with her family from Mexico to Hereford, Texas when she was only one. Her parents wanted to give their children access to education, the key to a better life. And through school, Jimenez also discovered running, which eventually earned her a scholarship to The University of Texas.
“Other people who come from similar situations haven’t necessarily made it, or didn’t give themselves the opportunity to seek what they want to do. They weren’t given a chance,” she says. “I’ve just been blessed throughout my life, and been around people who encouraged me even when I didn’t think I could do things.”
During her time at The University, Jimenez has made it a priority to become an encouraging presence in the lives of children. She wanted to provide for them the hopeful guidance she received as a youngster.
Jimenez was just named to the Fall 2010 Big 12 Chick-fil-A Community of Champions because of her dedication to community service and leadership. Through UT, she's been involved with Special Olympics, Marathon Kids and the Marbridge Foundation.
Several summers ago, Jimenez began volunteering with the Heart House in Austin, a local, free afterschool program dedicated to providing a safe haven and academic support to low-income children and encouraging them to become good citizens.
Seeing the startling “grim realities” in these children’s lives moved Jimenez. They come from families who can barely afford to eat and live in communities where crime and violence are widespread. In Jimenez, these children have an encouraging role model they could relate to.
“I’ve experienced some of the same things. I had to make my own way,” she says. “But they also see things on a daily basis that are just horrid, and they still have potential and drive in the purest form. That’s just extremely enriching.”
Jimenez graduated in May with a Biology degree and is now preparing to take her medical entrance exam in March.
She’ll compete in her final indoor and outdoor track seasons this spring. Last year, Jimenez garnered All-Big 12 honors for a second place finish in the 5,000m (17:10.95) as well as a third place finish in the 1,500m (4:23.60) at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships.
Once competition ends, Jimenez will find her new path in medical school. She isn’t sure what her particular area of study will be, or if she wants to practice medicine, but Jimenez will have what’s most important to her -- faith.
“I think I’ll figure it out,” she says. “I want to be a groomer of life.”