To you and I ordinary mortals, running a 21K is considered an accomplishment. Finishing a marathon — the 42K — is a major, life-changing achievement. How about the 50K? Or the 100-km. ultra-marathon? These are considered “crazy” distances reserved only for the diehard lovers of pain. Well, guess what? There’s more.
Last June 14, a 250-km. race — the countrys’ longest footrace — was held in Cebu. The South-to-North 250K started in Santander and, after passing through 20 cities and municipalities, ended in Bogo City.
Joel Cuyos finished first with a time of 42 hours and 39 minutes. The others who completed the distance within the cutoff time were Zenchen Lagapa (43:19), Wilnar Iglesia (43:19), Rodney Cabahug (46:40), Tony Galon (46:58), Randy Rubio (47:02) and Barry Red (47:37). Three women joined the race and it was Rodah Oporto-Cabellero who finished (12 minutes after the cutoff time).
I interviewed Tony Galon, the 43-year-old president of the Cebu Ultrarunners Club (CUC), and here’s his account:
“At Km70, I had a blister on my left foot and later on the right foot around km100. It’s also the first time that I experienced hallucination. I can see people at a distance — yet they were only plants, trees or road signs. One time I wondered why there’s a bus lying on the road. Was there an accident? It was the shaded part of the road covered with tree shadows.
“Sleeping while running/walking. I took a nap between Aloguinsan-Toledo. I can’t control my eyes; they closed by themselves. I stayed in the middle of the road following the lines and after a few seconds, opened my eyes and aligned myself in the middle of the road. In Aloguinsan, this sleeping habit stopped because of the many stray dogs…
“Along Tuburan-Tabuelan, I was alone because my support crew, John Domingo, helped another teammate. My headlamp had no battery and it was very dark. I can barely run and felt disoriented. I can’t understand everything. My mind can’t hold on as it seems it was a never ending 8km in Tabuelan. I needed fuel (food) as I didn’t have proper intake in the past 2 days.
“I ate a chocolate bar given by Agnes Perez with her husband Garry, joining the Tabuelan 111. But it wasn’t enough; I still can’t focus. Luckily, there was a barbecue station and I asked for barbecue and puso (“hanging rice”) but it was only 1 puso. Soon after I reached Tabuelan, I felt disoriented and cold. I noticed that when I ran I had no sweat and felt hotness in my body.
“I decided to stop and sit down and later decided to take a habal2x going to Bogo City. I have no light for the Tabuelan-San Remigio route and the km. marker says 33km to go to San Remigio plus the 8K going to Bogo City. With my situation, there’s no way I can take the marathon length. I stopped a habal2x and asked the fare going to Bogo. It was P300 and my money was only P100.
“While talking and negotiating with the driver, Ronald and Mazil Rubic (my in-laws) saw me together with Keith and Annabelle Dinoy (CUC members who joined Tabuelan 111). It was perfect timing. They gave me food, medicine, massage, hot soap, fresh dry cloth and a flash light. I stayed for an hour in this area just to recover. From then I was in a good condition and started running again plus my wife (Alfie) and John Domingo arrived. I ran the whole stretch except the part when there was heavy rain and I took a nap inside the car waiting for the rain to stop.
“The rain did not stop. Alfie advised me to use an umbrella to save time so I can reach the finish line within the cutoff time. I ran to Bogo City with an umbrella. On the last 8K, I thought the old city hall was the finish but it was the Martinez Gym. I ran like an UNGO was chasing me until the finish.”
Amazing! Tony completed the 250K in 46 hours, 58 minutes. He was one of only seven runners (out of the 20 who started) to have finished within the 48-hour cutoff time. As baseball’s Tommy Lasorda once said, “The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man’s determination.” What a story of perseverance by Tony.
Other inputs from Tony:
Tony is presently working at Systech Telecom Ltd, a hongkong based company dealing with hotel wifi internet, bt we have also a music division that is exclusive handled the Asia Pacific for Vienna School of music board. Wife is Alfie Galon, a PE teacher and volleyball coach from St Theresa’s College.
Said Tony: “We have 2 boys, Aaron Gabriel, 13 yrs old and Luke Daniel, 9 years old… I started running last Dec 9, 2009 after i was convinced by my wife to run… Founded the CUC – Cebu Ultrarunners Club. The facebook group name is Beyond 42k.. Cebu Ultrarunners Club, last March 2011 and became the president thru election July 2011 till present… I have also created/founded this “I am a blood donor runner”. A group of any runners (all over Phils) that are willing to share their blood without any pay. We already donated blood to many people runners or not.”
Marathons of Tony: Cebu City Marathon(s), Condura Marathon, Kawasan Marathons & Aboitiz Race to Reduce Marathon. Ultramarathons: Bohol 50-50, Mayon360, CUC100K leg 1 and leg 2, Bohol 50 Miler Ultramarathon, Ultrahamster(s), Summit 60K, 1st Coast to Coast 65K Ultramarathon and 1st 50K Cebu Ultramarathon. Others events are Xterra(s), Trail Marathons in Mt Patag, Silay City and MSIG Sai Kung 50K Trail in Hongkong and various 21K and fun runs