Jackeline had a store and her family lived out of it. She was located in the village of El Opón, four hours from El Socorro, in the department of Santander.
Her husband, Miguel, was in charge of growing coffee and cassava. They both collected the money to support the house, in which they raised their eight children: Fredy, Róbinson, Franklin, Jéssica, Andrey, Edwin, Yuri and Jackeline.

Franklin, today national cross country champion, bronze medalist in the South American event and Colombia’s representative in the World Cup in Australia, studied at the rural school, more or less three kilometers from the store.

He got up, he was going to class, but during the break he had a mission, once the bell rang he had to run out to bring the ‘something’ to the workers.

The place where he had to go was more or less half an hour away from the school, so he had to go fast. She returned from leaving the food and went to class. When the day ended, around one in the afternoon, he ran home, picked up the lunch box and started on his way again. to bring lunch to the Russians. She would leave them and go into the fields to help her father sow and harvest. There she was given 6 in the afternoon and again to sleep.

The war drove them out of their home

The area was gripped by violence. Every so often the shots from the cross war between the guerrillas, paramilitaries and the army were heard, but that, although it worried them, did not make them lose sleep, since they stopped working and studying, everything was fine. The situation worsened when the Téllez family received threats on several occasions. They told them they had to evacuate.

“There was a lot of war, a lot of confrontations. They threatened them that if they didn’t leave they would kill them, and he had to leave the house, the store and the land. It was difficult, he had to sell to everyone, but that was a problem. They traveled to Bogotá and I stayed with three other brothers, we went to live with a friend,» Téllez said.

A year later, Franklin made the decision to travel to the capital of the Republic, to reunite with his parents and siblings. Manuel found himself, he was a porter, and Jackeline had a job washing clothes in houses. They lived in the San Carlos neighborhood, south of the city, up to date, money was not enough.

The house where the rest of the family lived was small, only two rooms, and they had to sleep on mats. One of his uncles had a butcher shop and he went to work there. Franklin dropped out of school, couldn’t continue, the need was pressing, he had to work and he was a minor. He cleaned the dust in a bakery and later he was employed in a fruver, in which he was paid with markets.

His work began at 6:30 am and ended at 11 pm Several people recommended that he study, but there was no time, the situation at home was difficult. In fits and starts he returned to the classroom. He enrolled in the San Benito school. «It’s that I had to work because my brothers were younger and my parents couldn’t handle all the load,» he recalled.

Franklin Téllez worked as a butcher before taking up athletics.

At school he started playing soccer. He was in the intercollegiate, he also played futsal. He had to run from the Candelaria neighborhood to 68 with 13, the team’s training site maracaneiros, in which he played, because he did not have money for the buses. When he came of age he graduated and enrolled in the Catholic University to study physical education, but did not pass. He made the decision to serve. For a year he was in Funza, Cundinamarca, in PM 13. He was an escort for the generals, he took care of the battalion. He handed over his weapons, took off his uniform and returned to his house. His parents were already famous, the buying and selling of meat gave them to support the minors, since the older ones already had their lives defined.

That December of 2010, Franklin took over the business. Manuel traveled to the town, but the news was not very good. On December 24, Franklin was at the butcher shop with his mom, preparing the latest for Christmas dinner, when he received a call. Manuel had been assassinated. She started drinking with some friends, there was a fight and she received a stab wound to the heart.

“It was December. He was fresh out of the army and that hit me hard. I thought about leading a normal life, devoting myself to meat, telling my parents not to work anymore, but look what fate has in store for us,” Téllez said.

When Franklin got serious about athletics

Franklin’s first pines as an athlete were made alongside Jorge Cruz, from Soacha. The DT’s sister told him that soccer was a donut and that in athletics there was a much better chance to be someone.

He began his training at the El Tunal neighborhood. Due to his work, he had to leave for practice at 5 in the morning and at 7 he was famous until 10 at night.

“The hardest thing about working in the butcher shop is the cold from the refrigerators, being on your feet all day and not eating well. You have to organize the so that people. At 11 am you have to have the refrigerators ready. After lunch, they organize the cuts, the breasts, do the cleaning, sharpen knives, and from 5 to 8, work arrives because people buy for food,” said Franklin Téllez.

Today, his life is not the same. Athletics gives her a living and she has left, a little, fame. He goes, he pays attention and even reaches out, but he dedicates more hours to training and resting. “I am an elite athlete, so I have to take care of myself. That was because it was starting, I didn’t have enough for vitamins, for slippers, for trips and hotels. Now, the same, but what I earn I invest in athletics, ”she commented with a laugh.



In 2018 he was about to leave the sport. A right knee problem put him against the wall. He has always competed for the Bogota League, but has received nothing in return. The medical treatment was passed out of his pocket.

Then came the pandemic. Another hard blow. In 2020 Franklin hesitated to continue, because the economic part got complicated. He began to raise his head thanks to fame. Back in shape he took the lead. He held on to the business and because of everything that has happened to him, he assures that he will not give up.

“The desire to improve and dream big makes one persist. I dreamed of being a national champion and I did it, of going to a South American, I went and brought me a medal and then I insisted on going to a World Cup and I was in Australia”, he stressed.

He would like to go to the Olympics. He accommodates 10K and 15K trials, loves to run the Half Marathon and the Marathon, and is an accomplished long distance runner.

He is part of the Asics team, which collaborates with his clothing, that is already something, because a pair of shoes can cost around $500,000 and more and in three months they are useless.

Franklin Téllez does not have a girlfriend. He is focused on his athleticism, delivered one hundred percent in search of the minimum mark for paris 2024.

And while that arrives, he does not give up, he continues to become famous, not every day, but often, to cut the meat, prepare the refrigerators and sell the product that once gave him the hand to become the national champion that is.

Lisandro Rengifo
Editor of EL TIEMPO

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