A husband’s doubt, a wife’s belief-A A +A
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
HER husband said she couldn’t do it. She said she could and she would.
So she did. Bjane Mendoza, 59 years old, ran, walked and finished 50 kilometers last weekend. She crossed the finish line of the 2nd All-Women Ultra Marathon (Awum) an hour past the cutoff time of 10 hours.
She was the last runner to arrive, and is the oldest of the 150 who registered in Awum 2. This was her first ultra marathon, and she jumped distances, from 21K to 50K. She skipped the 42K, the marathon distance.
Her husband Ledoy, one of the Awum organizers, did not share her confidence and gung-ho spirit. “(He) kept discouraging me from joining Awum 2.
He said I didn’t have the proper training needed to finish the 50K and he was worried about what would happen to me during the run,” Bjane tells me in a private Facebook message.
Ledoy was right to be worried. The Awum is a night race with a cutoff time and prohibits the use of pacer and mobile support. Ledoy couldn’t be looking after his diminutive wife, station by hydration station. More than anything else, Bjane is no Sheila Colmenares, a seasoned runner at 58 and beats runners 15 to 20 years younger than she.
By 8:45 a.m., 45 minutes past the cutoff time, Bjane had not arrived at the finish area at White Sands Beach Resort and Spa in Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City, the organizers told Ledoy to go and find out Bjane’s location.
Ledoy came back 15 minutes later bringing a plastic bag of hot bingka. He said Bjane was near and was being escorted by runners.
When we saw Bjane entering White Sands and running toward the finish line like a huge pot of gold was waiting for her here, we broke into cheers. Her face beamed with relief and pride and happiness and a sense of feat.
She made it. She proved her husband wrong. Ledoy kissed her at the finish line.
“I didn’t have doubts of myself that I could finish the race. I may not be among the runners to arrive the finish line on time but what is important to me is I reached my dream—to finish the 50-K run,” Bjane says.
Bjane began running at 57 years old and her first race was a 3K in March 2011. When Awum was launched last year, she wanted to register but Ledoy dissuaded her because she was not ready. She volunteered instead to help the organizers, Think Tank. For every woman who crossed the finish line in Awum 1, she tightened her resolve to join Awum 2.
All her runs in 2012 were geared toward joining Awum 2. “The last three months before Awum 2, the pressure was getting tighter. It became more difficult for me emotionally to do my training since it was obvious that I didn’t have the blessings of my husband to run.”
“But I persisted. I ran alone, practiced on the official Awum 2 route. I joined the simulation run. I wanted to join the practice run in Guadalupe but Ledoy discouraged me to join and asked me to join him in the Amway Run.
“In spite of all the discouragements, I believed I could finish the race. Even on the night of the race, he still tried to prevent me from running but I persisted.”
Running alone on the road and way behind the rest of the Awum 2 runners, she says, “there were instances when I wanted to give up but on a timely manner, friends were there to lift my spirits and encouraged me to go on with the race.”
She recited a mantra: Don’t quit. Finish the race. Don’t quit. One kilometer at a time. She held on to this and reached the finish line.
Bjane’s 50-K run is a story of one woman’s tenacity. It is about a woman’s belief in herself no matter the odds, which include a husband who didn’t believe she could do it. It is a woman’s celebration.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 14, 2013.