Those were the days

SPORTS EYE - Raffy Uytiepo (The Freeman) - May 19, 2020 - 12:00am

Having experienced being lockdowned for almost two months, I know now what life is like inside the jail.  Anyway, the “house arrest” gave me time to dust of files off my collections of records, CDs and what have you.  It was a travel along memory lane as I recalled my running days and meeting a lot of world champions and celebrities. In 1982, for instance, I had the chance to meet two-time Olympic marathon champion Waldemar Cierspinski of East Germany when he came to the country to run the first ever Manila International Marathon and established the all-comers record of 2:14. In the years that followed, I met four-time Boston Marathon champion Bill Rodgers and Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run Boston with a bib (women were not allowed then until 1972). I also became good friends with John Campbell of New Zealand and Leon Wijers, one of the Netherland’s best runners. When I ran the Hong Kong Marathon in 1992, we were instant friends with Kenyans Kennedy Momanji and eventual champion Ben Matolo (2:16:07). In the Singapore Marathon, I met former New York City Marathon champion Tegla Loroupe of Kenya.  Tony and Doc Ponso Del Prada also ran in that marathon.   I was then pacing one-legged triathlete Rudy Fernandez. Actress Donita Rose, who was then a VJ in Singapore, also joined me and Rudy. John Campbell is the record holder in the Masters with his 2:11:04 registered in the 1990 Boston Marathon. He placed 12th in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. He invited me and Herman Suizo to train in his ranch in Christchurch in New Zealand.  India’s Sunita Godara, a former Paris Marathon champion, also became my good friend. She sent me a running book she wrote. Luc Waegeman of Belgium was another friend. Luke, who is 6’3”, covered Los Angeles Olympic champion Carlos Lopes, from the winds, allowing Lopes to set the world record in the Rotterdam Marathon. In 2009, I led a group of Cebuano first time marathoners to the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon. Our group included Atan, Jerry and Jeson Guardo, Alan Delantar, Joel Garganera and Haide Acuna.“Naa pud gamay nahimo ang Covid-19, it gave me time to bring back the beautiful running memories.”

More La Salle “Bigatins”

In my previous column, I wrote on the demise of good friend Peque Gallaga, allow me to make a correction.  Peque’s wife is Maddie Dacanay and not Linda, her sister. “Lisod ning naa na tay gamay na Alzheimer”. Sorry Peque!.  And on my La Salle Bacolod schoolmates, I committed a crime of not including Antonio “Bidoy” Aldeguer, who was also coach of the La Salle Cavaliers, the school’s varsity team. Ritchie Garcia and Monico Puetevella were members of that team.  Bidoy migrated to Cebu and became the city’s boxing godfather. Francis Arnaiz also suited for La Salle during his high school days while John Pages likewise played for the junior team before becoming a tennis living legend in Cebu. More schoolmates include golf superstar Golem Silverio, national champion Francis Gaston and JR. Tampinco. Jose “Oti” Montelibano, a car racing buff, became mayor of Silay City.  Another La Salle Bacolod product Fritz Gaston, went to Ateneo and ended up in the PBA.

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