About Me

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I am a Bicolano by birth and choice. By any standards, I am a slow runner but I like it that way. I look at running as a healthy and exciting way to make a difference. Together with my fellow runners from our family, school, office and the community, we use running to give back..

March 24, 2012

THE BULL RUNNER DREAM MARATHON: A Celebration of the Human Spirit

The Jaymie Pizarro baby, that is the Bull Runner Dream Marathon,  is the very first marathon that I joined and finished.  Way back in May 2010, barely 5 months after I got totally stoked to go after long distance running upon reading the book “Born to Run”, I crossed the finish line, seeing  my son raising his hands in exultation for what his daddy has just accomplished. It was a life-altering experience.

2012 TBR Marathon finishers Lily, Rose and Icar with 2010 TBR Marathon finisher Macky

My 2010 TBR Dream Marathon finish with my son raising his hands

Fast forward to 2am of March 18, 2012, I was again at the starting line of the TBR Dream Marathon.  This time, not as a Dreamer but as a pacer to my First Balfour officemates  -  Icar Hombrebueno (Bib#249), Lily Santamaria (Bib# 488) and Rose Dalawampu (Bib#140).These 3 ladies have persevered thru months (starting November 2011) of preparations for this big event in their lives and,  in their magnanimity, have invited me to pace them for the next 42 kms (oooppss, 42.195 kms to be exact).

Of course, I was honored and excited to be in the company of my fellow First Balfour runners.  All 3 have dared to dream and risen to the challenge.  All 3 are relatively newcomers to running. Powered by a bet with our company president, the 3 lady runners of First Balfour finished their first half marathon in late 2010.   Icar is a diabetic and both Lily and Rose have hypertensive conditions.  But these did not deter them, despite doubts shared by a few loved ones. 

New marathoners of First Balfour

Raising Trudy's hand in triumph

I really would not  miss this event.  This is a rare opportunity for me to be of help and to “pay forward”. A couple of weeks back, I just got to “survive” the Bataan Death March 102km Ultra  and the blister I got from that long distance running was still pestering me.  But hell no, this will not stop me from pacing at the TBR.

After a few booming words of encouragement from Coach Jim Lafferty, the starting gun sounded and the Dreamers were off and running.  As agreed with Icar, the pace of the First Balfour runners would be Galloway 1:1.  Such a pace was comfortable for all of us and we got to do a lot of talking.  The First Balfour ladies introduced me to a few runners who they became friends within the course of their months of TBR preparations.  One of them is Dr. Trudy Agdeppa (Bib# 8) connected with Medical City.  Another one is Renino Niefes (Bib#375).

Lily, Rose, Trudy, Icar and me

Nino Niefes

In 2010, Coach Jim was riding an SUV, this 2012 he was on a bike with his wife, cheering on the Dreamers

Pretty soon, we already finished the first loop and we're making the U-turn for the second 21kms.  By this time, Lily and Rose, with Rose’s brother as their pacer, were already a kilometer ahead of Icar, Trudy and myself. After dozens of Galloway walk breaks, our trio was already at the 30km marker and I could hear ourselves shouting “What Wall?”.  Such   bravado further boosted us to hammer ourselves to the homestretch, especially when our FB Human Resources Head, Honey Manzanares, made an appearance at Km 33.  The effect was more profound with Icar, and I could see that she was getting stronger.  On the other hand, Dr. Trudy was slowing down.  So, I waved Icar to push further and I told her that I would run with the good doctor.

Still strong as we near Km 30

Lily and Rose pushing it beyond the Km 30 wall

Not far behind are Icar and Trudy

Honey doing 1 km at Km 33

So this was how, the pacer in me was left behind by my fellow FB runners, the ones I was supposed to pace to the finish line.  Hahahahaha... But I am happy because I got to run with Trudy and helped her power on to the finish line.   Everybody happy.  (For the results of the 2012 TBR Dream Marathon,  please visit http://thebullrunner.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/TBRDM2012_RESULTS-rev2.pdf).

CONGRATULATIONS to all 2012 TBR Dream Marathon finishers.  

CONGRATULATIONS to Rose, Lily and Icar.  Job well done.  With Philip Balingit and myself, we are now five (5) marathoners in First Balfour, Inc.

CONGRATULATIONS to Trudy and Nino.  Thank you for sharing with me this inspiring experience.

CONGRATULATIONS to the dynamic and generous people behind the success of The Bull Runner Dream Marathon:  The Bull Runner herself, Jaymie, and her dedicated team of running coaches (Jim, Lit Onrubia, Edward Kho) and staff, and the many volunteers who manned the water stations and acted as dream chasers.

In his Marathon Guide 2012 posted at the Runner’s World (Philippine edition, January-March 2012 issue), Secondwind’s Hector Yuzon included TBR among the Top 8 Marathons in the country.  He pointed out the TBR Marathon as  "the kindest marathon in the country; the support participants get is unrivalled by any other marathon."

I share Hector’s point and because of this kindness, many runners are able to finish their very first marathon and get to celebrate the  human spirit. And what is the human spirit?  Some call it “...the inner voice, or the part of you that urges you to keep fighting no matter how bad the odds are stacked against you. It is what makes you get back up, time and time again, after you have been dropped to your knees.” (from http://believer786.wordpress.com).  

The marathon showcases certain qualities that make us human apart from the other living things in this world.  Qualities such as perseverance, empathy and my favorite, the ability to dream.  The human spirit has the ability to dream the impossible and attain those dreams. That the impossible is not impossible.  You will never question the truism of this point when you get to see the many TBR Marathon participants cross the finish line.

TBR Dream Marathon is getting bigger. The number of finishers has gone up from 251 in 2010 to 311 in 2011 and now to 482 this 2012.  There are now more commercial sponsors and media coverage.  And the TBR Dream Marathon will continue to grow as its Dreamers  will be bullishly  inspiring and encouraging family, friends and officemates to take up the challenge of finishing a marathon. 

In my case, I am happy to have encouraged  9 runners to dream of finishing their very first  marathon (the TBR or any other marathon): Allen, Bob, Fards, Ric, Ed, Ghibz, Icar, Lily and Rose.  My wish is that I get to inspire  more marathoners every year.

The dreaming continues............       

Me at my first marathon – 2010 TBR Dream Marathon

Allen (Bib#150), Fards (Bib# 769) and Bob (Bib# 116) at their first marathon – 2010 Camsur Marathon

Ric Lozano(Bib# 60424)  at his first marathon – 2011 Condura Skyway Marathon
Ed Balcueva (Bib#30) at his first marathon – 2011 Camsur Marathon

Ghibz at his first marathon – 2011 Camsur Marathon

Rose, Icar and Lily at their first marathon – 2012 TBR DreamMarathon



  1. haha "What Wall?!" and I keep pushing the wall until I reached the finish line! :D Thanks Sir Macky! We can't do this without your support! :) And now all I wanted to do is to RUN! ang sarap eh :) and the question is what's next? I will do another marathon this year and T2N is on my list :)

  2. That's the spirit Icar. Big question - what is next? T2N (50 kms) is not a bad idea. It is this May 2012. hahahaha.

  3. I feel nostalgic. Ang taba ko pa dito. Hehehe.