One-legged triathlete (Conclusion)
SPORTS EYE - Raffy Uytiepo (The Freeman) - August 25, 2020 - 12:00am

Standard chartered Hongkong Marathon

In 2003, Zeny Iglesias of Standard Chartered Bank, Philippines invited Rudy Fernandez and me to be part of the Philippine contingent that will participate in the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon.   The PSC picked my wards Roy Vence and Allan Ballester and Cristabel Martes to battle the Africans.  Tony and Pons Del Prado and Boyet Rentoy of Iloilo rounded the group.  As expected, the Africans dominated the  marathon with Tendai Chemussa of Zimbabwe, winning the race in 2:18:11.  Vence and Ballester could do no better than 15th and 7th places in 2:29:35 and 2:33:37 respectively.

Stars for the night

While the Filipino runners were relegated to the tail end in the morning race, it was a different story in the awarding and farewell party in the evening at the posh Miramar Hotel in Kowloon.  The fellowship called for each country to field a representative to render a song.  After four performances from Taipei, Russia, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka, it was the Philippines turn, and guess who went up the stage? As expected, it was Elvisaya. With the audience starting to get drowsy, Elvisaya opened with “Jailhouse Rock” that really woke up the crowd.  As I was going down the stage, the host asked me to return for an encore.  I told him it’s only one song for each country but he said, “Never mind the others, go back”.  So the program turned to be an Elvis concert as I belted six more songs, sending everybody to the dance floor.  After the party, William Kho, chairman of the HKAAA invited me to come back next year.  I told him I’ll be back definitely with Rudy.  But Mr. Kho said he wants me to come a week before the race as he is designating me as assistant entertainment director for the awarding and farewell party.  He also asked me if I could select songs that will involve everybody.  So I said how about “We are the World” and “That’s What Friends Are For”.  We were never given a Chinaman’s chance to excel in the race but that evening, we were the champions, no doubt.

Singapore Marathon

In 2004, Rudy and I again represented the country in the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon.  Standard Chartered Bank Philippines together with the Singapore Tourism Board, sponsored our trip including our accommodation at the five-star Conrad Centennial Hotel. Again, we were joined by the Del Prado brothers Tony and Pons. I could not forget the last three kilometers of the race when Rudy’s leg (stomp), started to bleed badly due to the blisters caused by his prosthesis.  We wanted to stop as I noticed Rudy was in great pain, but he said it’s just two kilometers to go.  At this point we stopped at an aid station as I wanted to adjust the screws on Rudy’s titanium artificial leg.  The station attendant asked if I needed water or Gatorade.  He was puzzled when I requested for a screw driver.  When he queried if I have a vehicle, I told him I’m with a “Bionic Man”.  Actress Donita Rose, who was then working  as a vee-jay in Singapore, joined us in the last kilometer to give Rudy some encouragement.  Finally, we hit the finish line at Padang and I have to carry Rudy to the medical tent in a wheel burrow as he couldn’t walk anymore.  After getting first aid treatment and after being acknowledged by race officials, we were off to our hotel.  At the awarding ceremonies and farewell party at Marina Bay, I was requested by Rakel Liew Chian Ping, assistant director of the Singapore Sports Council, to sing his favorite Pinoy songs “Dahil Sa Iyo” and “Ikaw”, I told him I cannot memorize the lyrics but Tony, the lead guitarist of the band (who have performed in cruise ships), said he knows the lyrics and dictated it to me all the way.

Auction

Michael Jordan shoes which he wore in an exhibition game in Italy in 1985, fetched $651,000 at Christies Auction recently. Jordan wore the size 13.5 shoes when he shattered the glass of the backboard after a hard dunk in that game.  I also tried to auction my Nike running Vengeance shoes when we first became champion in the PAL Marathon in 1988.  But nobody was interested, so I decided to give it away to a “basurero” who said”wala na man ni suelas sir” and threw it away in the garbage truck.

RUDY FERNANDEZ
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