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Heart of an Athlete: Adriana Lopez, University of New Mexico

Published on January 24, 2017

Sarah Rennicke

“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.”                      -1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Adriana Lopez always loved running and it came naturally to her. With determination to give her best in all facets of life, Lopez, who completed her undergrad in 2016 and competed in track and field and cross country at New Mexico, reaches out to others on campus while at UNM School of Architecture and Planning and is keeping FCA active while constantly developing her own relationship with Christ.

FCA: What do you like most about running?

AL: It feels like it’s natural to me. It’s friendly and I can be competitive with my teammates without there being any unnecessary tension or conflict. I was always athletic, and my mom put me into soccer at my high school and said, “You should try this cross country thing too.” I tried it and liked it and did both soccer and cross country my freshman year. I ended up liking it more than soccer so I transitioned and ran cross country and track throughout high school.

I really like how I feel when I run; it’s a talent God gave me. Now I see it that way and want to do the best that I can. Every day at practice I’m just excited. It gives me a rush.

Adriana Lopez
Hometown: Albuquerque, N.M.
Major: Landscape Design/Architecture

FCA: You took a year off from competing in college. What made you leave and then return?

AL: I felt like I had too many expectations on me, and I was very ungrateful and didn’t want to have to meet everyone else’s expectations. I wanted to do it for fun, for myself. I just had to put my focus back on my life; I didn’t know what I was running for.

I ended up missing it. I talked to the coaches and they told me to walk on. I started training with the team and thought maybe this was something I could do as long as I put my heart and mind into it, and I began guiding my focus mentally and spiritually as I realized this is something God gave me.

FCA: What is your relationship with God like?

AL: I grew up in a Christian home—my parents took us to church, I knew the Bible stories, but I never really had a relationship with God until high school. I remember a specific church service where my pastor taught how to read the Bible. I did it with 1 and 2 Samuel. I don’t know why I picked those books, but I did that over the summer and when I got into my freshman year, I could feel God’s presence. I felt like I could have a relationship with God and felt conviction, guilt, and excitement, and I craved to read the Bible. I thought about Him all the time and the pros and cons in my choices. I got involved with FCA in high school, other Bible studies, my church, and went on mission trips. Basically, my life turned around when I started reading the Bible on my own my freshman year.

FCA: How do you spend time with God?

AL: In college, it’s hard to take time to read the Bible; I’m always looking for verses instead to be inspired by. But I feel like [reading] is an actual relationship builder. It is God’s word, so He is speaking. You feel the Holy Spirit and you read the Bible and understand it more. It’s like a real connection with God. There’s prayer, there’s worship, and there’s the Bible.

My quiet time is no distractions—no family, phone, tablet or laptop. I find time before bed. Sometimes in the morning I’d get to practice 30 minutes early and sit in my car and read a couple chapters. It’s very intimate. When there is time for God, I feel it’s really special. I’m not reading the Bible looking for answers; I’m looking to see what He can show me.

FCA: What have been some of your greatest experiences at New Mexico?

AL: New Mexico is a big deal for athletes; a lot of professionals come for training because of the altitude and terrain. I feel like it’s the place to be, and we were indoor track and field conference champions in 2014 and 2015. I’m very proud of our team; I’m just proud of the running atmosphere in New Mexico.

We do a lot of service work on campus with the ministry I’m part of. Basically it’s a fellowship and we invite nonbelievers. During the semester we invite them to our Bible studies and have a free lunch thing on Thursdays. I’m more of a “take people to the lost world and bring them into the fellowship I’m involved in so they can see the type of life I live” person. I feel like there are a lot of opportunities for that here.

FCA Staff Quote:

“Adriana has been involved with FCA for several years now and has really stepped up as a leader for the UNM huddle.  Her faith has been her rock through times of adversity, and she is hungry to share the good news of Jesus Christ.  She has a servant’s heart and I can’t wait to see how she will continue to impact others through FCA here in New Mexico.”

-Christi Musser
FCA New Mexico


Photo courtesy of University of New Mexico Athletics