Thursday, March 7, 2013

Strength From Within, Strength From "The" Friends

Our body could only do so much. Our mind will always be limitless but could only push the body up until it can move. Our spirit to fight might be endless but up to what point? But with friends who will shoulder all the pains you have if they have to? - BEYOND MEASURE!  Read on and feel how pure friendship could make a runner finish 102 kilometers. 

Written by Jenny Red. An article which not only showcased RFM's perseverance in conquering Bataan Death March 102 Kilometers, but also exhibits how good friends could make the difference. I'm so moved! (And so proud to belong)

I always knew you could finish this race…

Having known Allan for a good number of years now, I know that whatever he decides to do, he would keep at it until it is done. 

It’s sort of the same thing that I learned from him when I began running with him – that if you put yourself at the starting line, you better make sure that you’re going to cross the finish line too.

So when he finally confirmed that he was going to run the Bataan Death March 102, I already imagined him at the finish line.

MARCH 2, 2013: RACE DAY (KM 0)

The energy at the starting line of the BDM 102 is really something else.  It makes one forget that the runners are going to brave 102 kilometers on an open road for a maximum of eighteen hours under the heat of the sun when it finally shines during the latter part of the race. 

As we (the Team Ultra Cyan support crew) were sending Allan and Cyril off, I was already preparing myself for Allan’s tantrums that I will surely encounter along the way. 

I told myself, “’Wag ka sasabay sa topak niya. Just this once, ‘wag,” as I heard the gun fire signaling the start of race.


So far, so good.  Allan was still in his cheerful mood when they reached kilometer 50.  Nevermind that he was too stubborn to ACTUALLY eat something.  I was just glad that he was still in one piece at this point of the race.


Allan was the one who helped me break my 5K PR.  He was always at the finish line whenever I ran a longer distance for the first time.  Allan was also my pacer for my first full marathon – the pacer who told me not to give up when all I wanted to do was quit at kilometer 32 because I have never felt that much physical pain in my entire life.

He was always a stronghold not just for me, but for the six:30 running group too.  Allan would always be that voice inside your head during races that keeps on telling you, “You must reach that finish line.  You can.  You will.  YOU HAVE TO.”

Seeing him pain free and strong for the past 75 kilometers, I was pretty sure he would finish the race like that as well.  But upon reaching kilometer 76, the entire support crew could see that Allan was beginning to tire out.  He was beginning to get grumpy too.  But what came next, I was not prepared for. 

Allan vomited.  And then he cried. He just sobbed and sobbed and would not utter any word to us. 

Instead of doing my task of reminding them of their target time, I just stood there staring at Allan.  Iba pala talaga kapag nakita mong bumibigay (na) yung taong sanay ka na kinakapitan mo.


It was such a blessing that Allan was able to get back on track after that incident at kilometer 76.  I just didn’t have the heart to tell him that they were already an hour off for their target time.  Good thing, Cyril was still mentally strong at this point of the race.  I decided to tell him the situation and told him, “Ikaw na bahala kay Allan.”


With only 12 kilometers to go, I was hoping the two could find that final ounce of strength and push their way to a silver medal-finish.  And as I reminded them of how much time they could play around with, Allan just stared at me and suddenly snapped.  “Not today, Jenny.  Not today.”

I backed off in silence and silently said, “You will not retaliate.  Just today, Jenny.  Just today.”


Cyril was now kilometers ahead of Allan.  The support crew decided to split into two and I was with the other half who decided to go back for Allan.

At this point, Allan was just walking.  And as he sat down at our pit stop, you could see that this race already got the best of him.  He would not utter anything else except for, “I’m sorry.  Jenny, I’m sorry.”

Although I wasn’t sure if he was apologizing for snapping at me or for not clinching the target time or for both, I just said, “It’s okay, Allan.  Onti na lang.”


Ron and I went ahead of the rest of the support crew to to the finish line so we could welcome both Cyril & Allan and document their FL moments. 

Cyril finished first and as I was handing him his tarpaulin, I got a text message from a random number asking me to tell Allan that it’s okay (that he didn’t finish the race) and that he will still be the strong Allan that they know.

I went through the text message again and after reading it for the third time, I hurried up to Ron to tell him what happened.

I was in tears as I started relaying the bad news to some members of six:30 who were asking me for updates. 

Hindi pwedeng nag DNF si Allan.  Onti na lang e. Bakit?  --  those were the words that kept on resounding in my head as I stood pale-faced at the finish line.  Had I been wearing rubber shoes then, I’m pretty sure I would have darted to where Allan stopped and would have dragged him to the finish line.

It was also such a heartbreaking moment seeing Allan’s mother react to the news.

That’s when I decided to call someone from the support crew to confirm whatever was happening back on the BDM route. 

“Ha? Hindi! Last 200 meters na siya!” were the words that Mommy Daisy shouted over the phone. 

All I could remember next was myself shouting to Ron, Cyril, and Tita Ge that Allan was going to arrive anytime already. 

And arrive he did! Tears and all, Allan crossed the BDM 102 finish line with a time of 17: 14:24. 

Thank you, Allan, for finishing this race.  Thank you for not putting all of Cyril’s and the support crew’s effort to waste.  Thank you for going beyond yourself even if it was the hardest thing to do that day. Thank you. :)


…I told you, you can do it.  I always knew you could.  (Red, 2013)


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