Agony and ecstasy
SPORTS EYE - Raffy T. Uytiepo () - February 17, 2009 - 12:00am

“No Pain No Gain” and “Pain Only Lasts a Moment, But Pride Lasts Forever”, were the two battlecries I instilled to the Atan Guardo Running Team that was participating in the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon. During the team’s press conference, I told the media that Hong Kong has one of the toughest marathon routes in the world. Not only that, there’s also a time limit with cup-offs at almost every 6 kilometers, for instance you’ve got to cover 15 kilometers in 2 hours or else you’ll be told to board a bus (sweeper). There’s even a last cut-off at kilometer 40, meaning you could get axed with two kilometers to go. Then the team is composed of practically first-timers. So it was a tough mission getting the team to finish. And lastly, we only had 3 months to train, well not even, because we were interrupted by the Christmas Season and the Sinulog Festival. I know a runner needs 6 months to train in order to finish a marathon comfortably. But Atan insisted that we go. During training, I already knew who could finish the race. Being a national marathon coach, I knew it was only Atan and Joel Garganera who could pull it through with Jeson Guardo having a little chance. I’m not saying that the rest of the team Jerry Guardo, Allan Delantar, Haide Acuña and myself were incapable, but as I said, we really needed more mileage.


Even the revered Kenyans complained of the hilly course in Hong Kong. In fact the last 2 kilometers are littered with flyovers. So just when you’re almost out of breath, you have to tackle the winding flyovers. Allan Delantar was the first casualty, succumbing to cramps on both legs at the 17-kilometer mark just after the Tsing Ma Bridge. He had to be carried to the ambulance and arrived at the finishline in a wheelchair. Just after the Ting Kau Bridge at the 22-kilometer mark, my vision started to get blurry. I couldn’t see the route. It was hypoglycemia slowly creeping on me. I depended on the sports drinks they gave which I believed lacked potency compared to Gatorade I had to take my power gels which I reserved for the last 15 km. The gels slowly rejuvenated me and when I reached the tunnel my vision was back allowing me to overtake over 30 runners. I was trying to beat the 33-km cut-off station when I heard Jerry Guardo yelled at me. Jerry was stretching on the sidewalk and told me that we run together. Losing precious moments, we were blocked at km. 26 and ordered to climb the bus. But Jerry and I broke away from the cordon. We were able to run 2 kilometers more until a bus blocked our path at km. 28. As we boarded the bus, a familiar voice greeted me “Hi Raf, I reserved a seat for you,” it was Haide Acuña who was earlier picked at km. 25. We saw Atan, Joel and Jeson as the bus traveled to the finish line. We soon lost sight of Jeson who was picked up at km 37. “Sayang, it was five km. to go. Atan and Joel were the last remaining hope of the team. Joel told me Atan suffered cramps but still managed to continue and finally hitting the finishline at 5:33, they missed the 5:30 limit but nevertheless finished the race. Also making the team proud were Leszl Gitaruelas who wound up 3rd in the 21K and Mendel Lopez who pocketed fourth in the men’s category (21K), Dr. Brian Bon also finished. NBI lie-detector operator Arnold Palma survived the 42K likewise with Paul, a runner from Kabangis. CERC members Cris Aldeguer, Millette and Frederck Chiongbian also made it to the finishline. Edwin Ratilla, Genito Guardo and Nia Aldeguer finished the 10K run. I would like to commend the wives of the Atan Guardo Running Club for throwing their support on their “has been” este, husbands, Clarisa Guardo, Aileen Guardo, Lovena Guardo, Jennifer Delantar and Lenlen Ratilla. We would also like to thank our photographer Dondon Guardo (who ran 1K) and wife Ging Ging. Next stop, Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon.

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with