Get your free issue of TBR Magazine at your favorite running stores. For this issue, we’ve got running couple Mark and Bea Hernandez on the cover! Click HERE for complete list of stores and archives of old issues.
Something new this time is that I’ve decided to post our cover article online to give you all a chance to read it asap. Makes sense doesn’t it? I’ll be posting other articles from past issues as well in the weeks to come! Cool eh? (But, still, don’t forget to grab your hard copy of the magazine. It’s free anyway!) Here’s our cover story:
AND THEY RAN HAPPILY EVER AFTER
This is a story about Mark and Bea Hernandez, love and running… and why couples should take note
Words by ERIC NICOLE SALTA
Photos BEN CHAN OF BLACKSHEEP MANILA
From TBR MAGAZINE – MAY-JUNE 2013
Just minutes after their cover shoot, Bea, 31, candidly demonstrates to me the different smiles she had to pull to get the right shot (“I didn’t know what a half-smile was!” she chuckles) while we wait for her husband Mark, 34, who went downstairs to get their well-deserved brunch. Sitting in the moderately swarming second level of a café in Burgos Circle, this gorgeous couple feels like a warm burst of sunshine—massive running enthusiasts in their own right and massively in love with each other to such a degree that I felt their optimism emanate inches from where I sit in front of them.
Four years since embracing running and three years into their marriage, Mark and Bea Hernandez have marched on together to overcome the odds in their first race in April 2009, a five-kilometer stretch that led them to chase a running lifestyle and land themselves on The Bullrunner cover. And deservedly so.
This perfect power couple’s winning formula both on and off the road traces its roots from when they first met in high school (she the St. Scho lass and him the La Salle Greenhills chap) and grew up in the same village. “It developed really more than anything because we were good friends. We hung out together a lot and from there the rest is history,” says Mark whose chiseled good looks comes with a sensitive heart. That they decided to run their first race together without any preparations beforehand is another surprise that displays the nature of their relationship. When I ask if they trained for it, Mark and Bea, as if by telepathic mental connection, both laughed and said together “No!”
“It was a spur of the moment,” admits Mark, “You’d really spot us as a newbie. No training, no background, just went into it…” and like most couples who’ve known each other for a long time, Bea finishes the sentence for him, rosy cheeks aflush with enthusiasm, “…and enjoyed it a lot. And then we just kept joining all these fun runs every weekend.” But the rest of their running success can be attributed to the efforts they put into researching more about the sport, joining clinics, and procuring the right shoes and gear.
This unexpected healthy helping of running in their lives has even served their marriage well more than they could have ever expected. Says Bea, glancing at Mark, “We’re more understanding of each other and we’re very supportive no?”
“She has supported me in so many ways. All of which I would not have been able to do if she weren’t there to support me,” shares Mark. “In my ultramarathons she’s literally my support crew where she’s there the entire time and they’re fairly long events ranging from six to 30 hours and she’s there every step of the way. She takes care of my nutrition, she makes sure I’m still alive and breathing!” Bea looks around and says “YES!” with a snicker.
Mark and Bea have a strong sense of respect for each other to go with their affable personalities. For one thing, Mark doesn’t need to go to great lengths to get permission unlike certain cases where only the husband runs and the wife does not and well, that’s not an uncommon occurrence, but Bea acknowledges this necessity all too well. “We spend more time together and it’s not idle time. It’s also beneficial to both of us and it’s fun. It’s something different to talk about,” explains Bea, adding that they join races as a couple 99 percent of the time.
If there’s a race that never fails to make an impression on each other, it’s when Bea ran the TBR Dream Marathon in 2011. “He ran with me every step of the way,” she says. And they can laugh about it now. “I got to see her through all her emotions, her ups and downs, from smiling to crying to anger to smiling again to relief. The good, the bad, the ugly, I’ve seen it all.” Bea’s giggling like an excited schoolgirl by the time Mark finishes.
“And she did the same for me when I did all my attempts at the 160k Bataan Death March. She was awake, in a car, making sure that I got the right nutrition because there would be times I wouldn’t want to eat ‘cause I’m just exhausted but she made sure that I got the right food and fluids. And for someone to just be up and supportive for 29 hours, that’s already a testament of how much she loves me.”
And it seems as if their story as a running couple is just about to make a turn for the best. Their goals align themselves naturally with Bea aiming for another marathon sometime later this year and Mark targeting a full Iron distance in triathlon. But, says Mark, “I think as a couple though, we’d want to do a destination marathon together. One of our friends did the Bordeaux marathon where the aid stations served wine and oysters… so we’re considering Bordeaux and Tokyo (where they had their honeymoon).”
Nearing the end of the interview, I ask Bea about an upcoming 21K race on Sunday. “Do you still get scared?” “Yeah of course. You never know what’s going to happen on race day.” I notice Mark give her a reassuring gaze. She’ll be fine, I thought to myself.