Cebuano running enthusiast completes 7 marathons in 7 continents

IT was more than 10 years ago when I signed up for my first marathon. Even with no experience in long-distance running, the idea of going to Hawaii and running 42 kilometers somehow made the trip appealing. Alas, six hours into the Maui Marathon, I was swearing never to run again. Yet, a few years later, here I was, finishing my 33rd marathon in Lima, Peru, consequently accomplishing the not-so-easy feat of running a full marathon in every continent on earth.

I have a love-hate relationship with running. It is, after all, much easier to stay in bed instead of hitting the road at dawn to keep the training program from interfering with work. I actually find running anything over half an hour quite difficult yet I have never regretted having done any distance of any sort.

I soon found myself vacationing in different countries according to what marathons were being held; often choosing races in countries that I have not yet visited. As it turns out, running is one of the best ways to really see a city. After all, one rarely ever gets a chance to have the streets of a city completely empty of traffic for 42 kilometers. The misery I subject myself to is nicely balanced by street-level view of the city’s character only possible through running.

Of the seven continents: Asia, Europe, Australia, Africa, Antarctica, North America and South America, it was the marathon in Antarctica that was most challenging to schedule. There was a substantial waiting list to the Antarctica Marathon so one would reserve and pay for a spot for a race that would not happen for another four years.

The races in Asia, Europe and North America were easier to schedule as there is an endless list of races one can join without too much trouble. The Cebu Marathon knocked off Asia, the Berlin Marathon for Europe and the New York Marathon for North America.

For Africa was the Cape Town Marathon--a significantly well-run race and for Australia, the Auckland Marathon in New Zealand.

The chance to visit Peru came unplanned but the timing was perfect for the running of the Lima 42K on May 19, 2019.

It’s nice to know that an average Cebuano guy like me can put in a few kilometers on every continent on earth. (James Abilla / Contributor)


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