Former U.S. Marine Now PCC Cross Country Runner Adame Sheds Light On Vets Plight

PCC's Eriqlee Adame at a September meet (photo by Richard Quinton).
PCC's Eriqlee Adame at a September meet (photo by Richard Quinton).

Eriqlee Adame is no ordinary freshman on the Pasadena City College men's cross country team. Adame is a military veteran who served in the U.S. Marine Corps. While he races for the Lancers, Adame has a bigger goal as he sheds light on the plight of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.

The 6-foot-3 Adame, from San Antonio, Texas, is part of Mission 22, a project run by veterans that is raising money to help with mental health services for vets as well as raise awareness to veterans suicides due to the disorders.

"Every day, 22 veterans take their own lives," he said. "That's a suicide every 65 minutes. As shocking as the number is, it may be higher. A history of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or traumatic brain injury (TBI) has increased the risk of suicidal behavior. More than 450,000 U.S. service members were diagnosed with a TBI from 2000 to 2021, and 500,000 have been diagnosed with PTSD.

"Although there are "some" programs to support vets who may suffer from these diagnoses, there still isn't a cure, and much work needs to be done. This subject is not discussed enough, and everyone needs to know about this issue."

In the past four years, Adame has competed in different athletic competitions in order to prepare for the grueling Ironman triathlon. This Sunday, Oct. 22, he will compete in Ironman California, held in Sacramento, as he will attempt to complete a course of swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and running a full 26.2 mile marathon for a total of 140 miles that must be finished in less than 17 hours.

Even more of a story is Adame will be wearing a 22-pound weighted vest during the race to further bring awareness to vets who have taken their lives post-military experience.

"I came up with the idea of using the vest to promote veteran suicide awareness," he said. "I want to honor those vets we lose daily and bring the eyes of the thousands of spectators who will be watching to the attention of the Mission 22 project."

Adame recently raced in the Mt. SAC Invite on Oct. 13 as part of the PCC cross country team, finishing a tough 4-mile course in 28 minutes.

"Eriqlee is an inspiration for not only his teammates, but to so many of who have also served in the military," said PCC head coach Innocent Egbunike. "His internal drive as a competitor is impressive."

To learn more about Mission 22, click here


Sophomore Youssef Cherqaoui placed 76th as the top Lancer racer at the Mt. SAC Invite as PCC placed 11th as a team. Cherqaoui finished in a time of 24:43.2, followed closely in 79th by teammate Luca Augustyn (24:47). Christopher Camarena was 102nd (25:27). Samuel Platz (120th, 26:20) and Winsor Harmon (123rd, 26:25) also were scoring racers for Pasadena. 

The Lancers next take part in the South Coast Conference Championships held Friday, Oct. 27 in Harbor City.