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Runner Spotlight: Maria Delgadillo

At Run Malibu we are passionate about celebrating the everyday superheroes out there that make this world a better place because of their beliefs and values. Today we want to honor Maria Delgadillo.

Maria started running in 2015 just for fun when a friend invited her to join a local running group. She was not a runner, so running her first mile was already such an accomplishment! In 2017, she joined the Pasadena Pacers, where she trained for a marathon, and in 2018 after 6 months of training, she ran her very first full marathon.

Just a month later she was asked to become the Half Marathon Coach for a new chapter of Pacer Nation in Whittier. She initially said “no”, because she did not believe she could do it. And while others strongly believed in her, she did not. She felt she did not have the experience as a runner, much less as a coach.

But her fellow runners didn’t give up, so she decided to embark on this new journey. It didn’t take long before she grew fond of her runners, and suddenly it was not about HER anymore, it was about THEM.

She wanted to give back, helping them BELIEVE in themselves, and to help them achieve goals they never thought would be possible. She eventually became an RRCA certified coach.

“Being a coach has been so rewarding to me, every time a runner crosses the finish line for the first time, seeing the tears in their eyes, makes me emotional, and it feels like I am crossing the finish line for the first time with them every single time. They motivate me to keep going.” Maria says about her experience as a leader and coach.

"I will stay here until dusk, if that’s how long it takes for the last person to cross the finish line, because the last person is the one that needs the MOST encouragement and cheers”– Barefoot Alberto [Perusset⁠]

During the lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, she and her husband Frank were forced to run in their own area and explore it for the first time. They were always so busy running in other cities, they weren’t aware of all of the beauty that they already had in their own backyard!

They felt that it was time to give back to their own community, so they decided to start the Azusa Pacers which, after months of hard work, was officially launched in August 2021.

Their main goal is to bring the community together, stay active & stay healthy, and to foster an environment where everyone feels welcomed no matter what level, age, gender or ethnicity they are and to help them BELIEVE in themselves.

Not everyone is a runner, so they also have a walking group.

On their training runs and at races, they support each other and always wait until the last runner or walker finishes.

As their late dear friend and co-founder of Run Malibu Alberto Perusset told her once, “I will stay here until dusk, if that’s how long it takes for the last person to cross the finish line, because the last person is the one that needs the MOST encouragement and cheers”.

Maria is blessed to have been given a second chance in life.

“Believe. When You Believe In Yourself, Anything Is Possible! The Sky Is The Limit!!”

Not many know that when she had her first child, after giving birth, she went into cardiac arrest. She almost did not make it, doctors were doing everything possible to save her life, but said there was a 50/50 chance of her living. “Through God’s mercy, I survived” she said.

“I have two beautiful daughters and a loving husband. Every day is a gift for me, so I lived it to its fullest and I don’t take anything or anyone for granted!” she added.

The advise she gives her fellow runners/walkers is: “BELIEVE. WHEN YOU BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE! THE SKY IS THE LIMIT!!”

We love you Maria, keep up your incredible work! 💜


Join Maria and the Azusa Pacers for the 14th Annual Malibu Half Marathon, 5K & 1/2K Kids’ Run. When you cross that finish line at Zuma Beach and hear the cheers from thousands of fellow runners and walkers, you’ll be glad you signed up!


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