Former track star returns to Cebu

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Sunday, April 27, 2014


Richiel S. Chavez
Sun.Star Correspondent

CEBU’s Athlete of the Year in 2001, Tirso Pamaybay, is returning home to continue the running career he left more than a decade ago.

Pamaybay was at the prime of his running and coaching career when he decided to leave Cebu for a slot in the Philippine Army. His Army application was put on hold, however, forcing him to work in a department store from 2005 until early this year.

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Pamaybay was Cebu’s king of the road in his prime and dominated local runs such as the Run for Election, Adidas Run and DYAB Alaxan Race. He also qualified for the 24th Milo National Marathon.

“I won those three runs consecutively in 2001. During those time, running events were very few. We only had five local running events per year,” Pamaybay told Sun.Star Cebu during an interview at the Cebu City Sports Complex(CCSC).

He was also the track and field head coach of Don Bosco Technology Center from 2000 to 2004, the Southwestern University (SWU) assistant coach from 2001 to 2003, and was one of Cebu City track and field coaches.

Pamaybay was also sent abroad to compete in the 2004 Mount Kinabalon run in Malaysia.
“During that time, being able to compete in an international event was a big accomplishment,” Pamaybay said. “Now running events are very commercialized.”

The 42-year old Tuburan native, who took up track and field to finish his studies, is
now back, not as a competitor but as a mentor to young runners.

“Coach Arvin Loberanis of the University of San Carlos told me that one of his assistants will be going to Manila, and he wants me to join his coaching team. I’m also waiting for the feedback from the other schools,” Pamaybay said.

He added that running is part of his life and he competes in fun runs to tests himself against young athletes.

“I always dream about running when I was in Manila, I have to come home to continue running,” he said.

Pamaybay showed a shadow of his prime in the 21K division of 37th Milo National
qualifying at Tarlac, where he clocked in at 1:18:22 to qualify in his age group.

He has been training for two weeks in Cebu now and has noticed the improvement in the local running scene.

“It’s different. Runners have progressive training now and the development starts with different coaches right from elementary until college. During my time, only one coach handled the college varsity and the high school teams,” Pamaybay said.

He also said foreign runners like the Kenyans who dominate local events can be defeated.

“The competition now is different. Athletes have to compete against international runners such as Kenyans but they should make this a motivation to improve their personal best. Before, we had to compete with Australians too, and we were able to beat them. The Kenyans are beatable as well if you put hard work, discipline and determination in your game,” he said.

As part of his comeback, he is set to join a 15K run on May 4 in Mandaue City.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 28, 2014.

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