Six alumni, that is. With the successful finish of Emman Balamban of Manila and Delsie Giray of Eastern Samar at the 2013 The Bull Runner Dream Marathon last February 24, First Balfour now has 6 graduates of this “first and only marathon in the world that caters exclusively to first- and second-time marathon runners.” Let us count them:
2013 -Emman Balamban (5 hrs & 43 mins) and Delsie Giray (6 hrs & 33 mins)
2012 -Rose Dalawampu (6 hrs & 55 mins), Lily Santamaria (6 hrs & 55 mins) & Icar Hombrebueno (7 hrs & 1 min)
2010 -Vicente De Lima (6 hrs & 8 mins)
The latest batch of dream marathoners showed grit and a lot of youthful exuberance in conquering their first marathon and our Manny Yak was on hand with his camera to capture the special moment.
I volunteered as a personal pacer for Delsie. We decided to make use of the Gymboss (2 in fact) to guide our Galloway run walk intervals. At the start, we utilized the 3:1 run walk interval (my gymboss) as Delsie confided that she is a strong runner at the start but she fades by the 10 km mark. True enough, at the start saw Delsie running fast, even overtaking Emman at 3 km mark. It was as if her feet had wings and the Bicolano Penguin was hard pressed to keep up with her. Even the uphill portions were peanuts to Delsie in the first 21-km loop. I had to caution her to relax and conserve the aggressive energy. Good thing she followed my advice, if not, BP the pacer would have been left behind.
|With running coach Sid Vildosola who was pacing for a group of Cebu runners|
|Delsi, Kat Buhalog (Emman's UP classmate), me and Emman at the start|
|Emman wearing the FB marathon dream team shirt|
|Delsie strong in the first 21 kms|
|Delsie all smile for the camera|
For the 21-km second loop, Delsie visibly slowed down and by the time we reached the Km 23 mark, she requested for a shift to the 2:1 interval. I turned off my Gymboss and she activated hers which was programmed for the 2:1 interval. And for the uphill portions, we both walked. At the Km 31 mark, with the big hill in front of us, I opened up what meal she wanted to have after her finish. This was to trigger in her the visualization mode. With some coaching from me, she answered “bulalo.” So from that point onwards, everytime her run faded or she would complain of some muscle ache, I would remind her of the delicious bulalo waiting for us. This helped no doubt (at the very least, it motivated me, the pacer, to keep on coaching so that the finish could be had. I was getting hungry). But let there be no doubt as well that Delsie is one determined runner. She has prepared for this marathon with a lot of long runs and planning.
|Emman with 10 kms to go|
|Delsie zooming downhill|
|BP in hot pursuit|
|Delsie running with the FB banner|
By the time we made the last u-turn with 2.5 kms more to go, the sun was already up and the smile of Delsie was shining brightly. With 200 meters to go, we made the last right turn and we had the straightaway all for Delsie to trot to the finish. She did not disappoint. With the last 10 meters, Delsie sprinted to the finish with both hands raised in exultation.
Moments like this are priceless. And I have been blessed to have been part of such an experience. I have been a pacer to the first marathon experience of many friends and officemates and still I have not gotten used to it. I still get emotional, even teary-eyed of such a moment.
|We got this one!|
In addition to my pacer duty, other First Balfour runners were helping out in the 2013 TBR Dream Marathon. Rose Dalawampu and Rein Glorioso volunteered as dream chasers. With their cheering and lovely smiles, they did a great job buoying the enthusiasm of the first time marathoners.
|Rein and Rose (3rd and 4th to the left) with fellow Dream Chasers at the beer station|
At the finish line, Emman, Delsie and myself had opportunities to have pictures with the organizers, other marathoners and lovely people. Special to me was to have pictures with Jaymie Pizarro and Lit Onrubia, key members of the TBR Dream Team (the organizing committee behind TBR Dream Marathon). The TBR Dream Team is doing a great job in managing the marathon. The participants are “spoiled” with great coaching, great venue and great support stations. It has grown in popularity and every year the number of finishers keeps growing.
2010 - 281 finishers
2011 - 311 finishers
2012 - 483 finishers
2013 - 584 finishers
|With fellow 2013 TBR Dream Marathoner Maricel Laxa|
|With Maricel Laxa’s pacer|
|Delsie and Rein hugging|
|Delsie and Emman hugging|
|BP did not get to hug anyone at the finish line but did get a towel from the Gatorade lady|
|With Jaymie Pizarro, TBR Dream Marathon founder|
|With Lit Onrubia, principal coach of the TBR Dream Marathon|
More importantly, it remains true to the noble ideal of its founder that anything in this world is within our grasp as long as we worked for it.
I am a believer. Five more of my officemates are believers. Who’s next among our many lovely and dynamic First Balfour runners? But before that, we have the bulalo to enjoy.
|Tired me, I can only say “Who’s next?”|