How Pinole Blue’s Eddie Sandoval Is Spreading a Family Tradition While Supporting a Tribe of Ultrarunners

eddie sandoval on #WeGotGoals Pinole Blue

Long after they moved from Mexico to Wichita, Kansas, Eddie Sandoval’s parents still savored the taste of home. Each time the family went back to Mexico for a visit, they’d pick up some pinole—roasted, ground corn that’s made into baked goods and drinks. Eddie remembers mixing it with water to quench thirst in the summer, and sipping it warm with cinnamon and sugar in the winter.

Wichita has a sizeable population of people who have immigrated from Mexico. Still, the Sandovals couldn’t find their beloved beverage nearby. So, Eddie decided to start a company to provide it.

On this week’s episode of #WeGotGoals, he explains how and why. One key motivator was the Tarahumara—the sandal-wearing ultrarunning tribe made famous by the book Born to Run. They hail from the same region of Mexico as the Sandovals, and drink pinole to power their endurance efforts.

During Christmas break of his senior year at Wichita State University, Eddie tracked down a supplier of organic, non-genetically modified blue corn (given its hue by the same types of health-promoting antioxidants as blueberries). He loaded up a truck in Mexico and drove it back to his parents’ garage. That was the start of Pinole Blue, a company that now sells powders, energy bites, cookies, and tortillas online and in close to 300 stores in 18 states. 

In line with our focus on Contributing Generously, giving back has always been central to Eddie’s business model—a portion of his proceeds go to benefit the Tarahumara, and he’s sponsored Tarahumara runner Lorena Ramírez. On this episode, we discuss:

  • 2:29: Exactly what pinole is, and why it’s so popular with the Tarahumara
  • 4:48: Why Eddie decided to start a business as a college student
  • 6:38: The big goal he’s accomplished, and why keeping a focus on generosity has been critical
  • 10:25: The first steps to getting the word out—including Craig’s List and Facebook marketplace—and the big break that helped him take things to the next level
  • 13:39: Challenges he’s faced along the way (including some top-notch cornmeal puns—the grind never stops!)
  • 15:53: How his age—he’s still only 24—both hinders and helps him
  • 17:37: The advantages pinole has as a fuel for athletes
  • 20:07: His big goals for the future, including the dream sports stars he’d love to sponsor
  • 24:57: How he stays balanced as a busy entrepreneur
  • 25:49: His number-one secret to success thus far

Links/resources we mention:

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About Cindy Kuzma

Cindy Kuzma is a freelance health and fitness writer and a contributing editor at Runner’s World magazine. She grew up in Texas and moved to Chicago to earn her master’s in journalism at Northwestern University; once she saw the lakefront running trail, she decided to stay. She’s finished 19 marathons and also loves lifting heavy weights, yoga, live music and running to the Green City Market from Andersonville and taking the bus home with a ridiculous haul of fresh veggies. Cindy is the producer and co-host on aSweatLife's podcast, #WeGotGoals. She’s written for Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Prevention, Shape and other publications as well—you can read her work at www.cindykuzma.com.

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