Stragglers beat odds-A A +A
Sunday, January 13, 2013
A siren signals the arrival of another runner. But unlike those that were heard a few hours after gun start, one relayed the information that the last runner was on its way to the finish line.
Leo Bellotindos, 34, was not bothered being yesterday’s straggler of the race. After all, he was welcomed by a cheerful crowd at the finish line, not to mention the 10 motorcycles that were escorting him in the last few kilometers.
Bellotindos finished his third marathon in 7:35 but he believed that he could have done better had he not suffered from blisters halfway because of the hot weather.
He learned he was running last in the race at the South Road Properties at the time when a few runners where already advise to ride the bus going back.
When asked why he did not hop in, he just said in reply, “Ngano nangutana man ka nako na naa pa man 25 minutes?” he questioned the marshal.
But more than that, he never really wanted to quit because he wanted to get the customized “puso” medal.
A software engineer from Zamboanga who was once assigned in Cebu and now based in Hong Kong, Bellotindos flies in and out of the country to join running events.
What started to be his idea of losing weight has grown into a habit of join weekend races.
In fact, one of the reasons he went for long distance races was to prove to his friends that you don’t have to run five times a week.
For him, whose work demands so much of his time during weekdays, he can only allot his weekends for running events.
This weekend warrior started going the extra mile when he joined a half-marathon in March of last year. He ran his first marathon in October and even signed up for another one, two months later.
He also was one of those whose training was put on hold because of the Christmas break but even before thatm he already signed for the run in the first week.
He’s supposed to leave for work this week but moved it at a later date after Sinulog.
And even finishing last in this race won’t even stop him from having another taste of pain next month in the Condura Run on Feb. 3.
He will continue running in Hong Kong to maintain his weekend habit and will also work on scratching one of his bucket list which is to join races around Asia.
JUST like all the other first time marathon runners who answered to the starting gun of the 42K, Imma Joan Cubero also wants to go back and finish what she started.
Cubero knew she was at the tailend of the pack. It was a hard race, she said, but to her, it was nothing she could not deal with. The comical runner wanted to look good when she arrived at the finish line, so at JY Square, she pulled out a pink lipstick from her hydration pack and dabbed some on her lips before continuing. She was ready for a finish line photo. But what awaited her at the finish line, just sent the newbie bawling her eyes out. It wasn’t the medal. Neither was it the photographers. It was her mother, Esther.
“She was just standing there at the finish line and her arms were open and ready to embrace me so I just broke down in her arms. It was the hardest seven hours I had to go through and I only realized it when I saw her. It was like a huge sense of relief seeing her,” said Cubero, who said that the SRP part of the race “humbled me to the core.”
Cubero was among the group of stragglers in the race, who refused to quit. By cut-off time, a bus plied the race route to pick up the runners at the bottom of the pack.
But Cubero wanted to finish. Although she was slow, she enjoyed every bit of the race.
“Sa may UP palang, bag-o pa gasugod ang race, nag muscle cramps nako. So I was already limping,” she said.
But when she reached McDonalds in Fuente, she decided to take a break.
“I thought I’d take a bathroom break. So I dropped by and massaged my leg a little bit and when it got better, I got back on the race,” said Cubero.
After the grueling SRP part, Cubero knew she was out of the race. “It was so hot at the SRP. It was like ‘I can see the turning point now’ but wala diay. Mura nako ug nag hallucinate. Pun-an pa gyud nga ang reflection sa sun sa dagat, made it even hotter,” said Cubero.
When she got back to the city, there were no more water stations. “Gigutom man ko, so nihapit nasad ko sa McDo. Nag take out ko ug sundae,” said the Lexmark Runners Club member.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 14, 2013.