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Former Arizona All-American runner Carlos Villarreal retires, citing foot injury

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One of the Arizona Wildcats runners of this century is hanging up the cleats.

Former UA track athlete Carlos Villarreal announced last week that he is retiring from professional running due to a lingering foot injury. Villarreal most recently competed for On Athletics Club.

Villarreal detailed his foot injury in a recent Instagram post.

“It was damn near impossible to run without pain,” he wrote. “It began to frustrate me BAD. It got to the point where I became resentful of running. Hated it for a while. Didn’t want anything to do with it. It was hard wanting something so bad and not be able to get even relatively close to it. But luckily, I had a great team to rally with that picked me up when I was feeling down. Not to mention their performances were inspiring to me as that helped me get through all the endless cross training and rehab.”

Villarreal went on to thank his mentors and former coaches, including ex-UA cross country and track and field coach James Li.

Villarreal, who was born in Sonora, Mexico and grew up in Rio Rico, competed three full seasons at Arizona. He earned Indoor All-American honors in 2019 after finishing fourth in the mile at the NCAA Championships with at time of 4:08.41. Villarreal’s career-best mile time is 3:56.77.

Villarreal made a splash on the international scene when he won the 2019 Pan American Games 1500 meter competition representing Mexico.