MIREN Amale Mendezona Jopson ran the planet’s longest-running (since 1897) marathon in 2014. That was the year after the Patriots Day bombings. She ran Boston again last Monday. Amale narrates her experience:
“The Boston Marathon is a dichotomy of sorts - rewarding and punishing at the same time. It’s a reward and privilege just to be at the starting line, celebrating life, love and health with 36,000 other people. Then you go through a long downhill stretch and undulating hills that’s just wonderful until you hit the Newton hills - you love them and you hate them! They’re really tough coming in so late in the race, and it’s not your training that gets you through. You look around and everyone is challenged; the wheelchair athlete or someone who’s running for charity pushing a wheelchair up these long hills, trying all sorts of tricks just to get up gives you goose bumps and suddenly you want to help them run their race and you forget about your pain!
“But you still have your own distance to run and still quite a bit to go until a volunteer or spectator looks you in the eye and ever so genuinely says, ‘Look at me! You’re beautiful - you can do this! You got this!’ You get through the hills and with eight kilometers to go, the Boston Marathon gives you downhills to enjoy all the way to Boylston but then again, at this point, it has taken so much from you. And no matter how much you want to pick it up and let gravity do the work, it doesn’t seem to help; In fact, the downhills at this point are gnawing at your quads and you wonder if you can finish. Then you turn your attention to the cheers and screams of encouragement and all the offers from the crowd that has lined the race from the first kilometer in Hopkinton, and that’s what gets you to Finish line at Boylston.
“As with anything in life, it’s PEOPLE that make a difference. It’s your family, your friends, the volunteers, the crowd, your fellow runners, your reasons for running, the people of Boston and the history, that make the oldest running race on the planet one of the best experiences a runner can ever have!”
At the finish, Amale was greeted by family: her husband Noy, children Mikele and Rafa, her dad Bube, mom Mikey, and sister Antoni.
Amale’s time? A speedy 3:46:38. To think that Boston is a challenging and hilly course and the weather three mornings ago was hot. Also, Amale doesn’t have all the time to train; she’s busy as the VP for Human Resources at AboitizLand.
Amale’s ultimate goal: to finish all six major marathons. Apart from Boston, these include Tokyo, New York, London, Berlin and Chicago.
On a somber note, as ecstatic as Amale was to run the world’s most celebrated footrace, her thoughts were on Bobby Aboitiz, who passed away a week ago.
“We were deeply affected by his passing.. he was almost family,” Amale said. “Yes, I thought of him during the race. I hope to be able to continue his legacy in AboitizLand and RAFI. He had the vision for the Kool Camp in Balamban and for the Liloan township that we’re launching this year. He was an amazing person and will be missed greatly.”