TBR Dream Stories: Bob, Bib No. 019; Mayen, Bib No. 181; Mai, Bib No. 152; Fiona, Bib No. 112; Thea, Bib No. 273, & Riki, Bib No. 220

Wednesday, 9 June 2010  |  Bullish Insights

This is a story about 6 strangers who—by a stroke of luck or with a hand from above—met each other on the road towards their first marathon.  It is written by Hector Yuzon, the owner of Secondwind Running Store, which was what led the six runners to find each other.



Some 4 months ago, one of my best friends came to me and said:

“Hec, gusto ko mag TBR marathon – can you train me?”  Without thinking twice, I answered my friend Bob: “Yes.”

Even to this day, I will never forget how Neville helped me get back into the life I used to have. I had taken a hiatus from sports for 2 years. Part of it was from knee injury and part of it was enjoying being injured.

I took Bob as my ticket to paying it forward for what Nevs had done for me.

Bob is your everyday average yuppie. Has an 8 to 5 job – a marketing guy for an electric company, and managing to balance training with his work and social life. Little did i know that he also invited to the marathon training a fellow TBR participant, our friend, Mayen. What used to be 1, was now 2.

– Bob –

Mayen is another marketing exec from a liquor company – pretty much the same scenario as Bob. Both driven and determined to train and finish their first marathon; both had been running on and off on fun runs. And the TBR marathon was their everest.

mayen 2
– Mayen –

During the first training run for the TBR marathon, I bumped into an old friend, Mai. Secondary grade teacher, and recently singled – looking for a breath of fresh air in her life and seriously eyeing the TBR Marathon to do just that for her. She is also a skilled cook who bakes on the side when she has the time.

– Mai (my son’s first preschool teacher, the best one he’s ever had!) –

Same week after the first group run, I got a phone call in the shop. Her name was Fiona and was inquiring whether we had a training group that does group runs – similarly enough she was also a participant in the TBR Marathon. So I told her there was none – and later on asked her “How serious are you in training for this?” and she said “very serious.”  Fiona, a mother of 1 and a college history professor – who just wants to keep fit and lose weight and will use the marathon just for that reason.  The original 2, had now become 4.

– Fiona –

Pushing on to our first long run, one of our teammates Mikey also included his fiancée to the training group (also doing the TBR run), Thea. Thea who worked for an IT company, worked for the finance dept – and was looking at the marathon as a goal for her new found passion: running.

thea 2
– Thea –

Out of nowhere, and by some coincidence another old friend, Riki texted me from out of nowhere saying that she was doing this marathon and needs advice / training from me. Riki, is a sales exec from a leading cigar company and is also trying to lead a fit and healthy lifestyle, and the marathon was her way of starting it with a bang.  Let me correct myself, I used to have 1 responsibility – and now I had 6.

– Riki –

We started off to follow the program we all did, each had a projected time of finish, some had faster pace than that of the others. We did leg drills, easy runs, speed workouts and most importantly (not to mention the most fun) the long runs.

I was extremely pleased when I noticed that the chemistry of the 6 all clicked. That made my job a little easier. I’ve had numerous training sessions with different guys, but training with a group of women was more fun because they always had food!


– Hector with buttery cupcakes from Mai’s kitchen! One of the rewards of marathon training –

Through the course of the training, while they were all having fun and giggling, I always reminded them that running is a lone sport. And, on marathon day, they will do this alone. As fun as it is to do group runs, when it comes to a marathon, more often than not youll be alone as we all have individual goals.

We all learned a great deal throughout the TBR training. It’s one of the many beauties of running. You will know yourself more in sevaral ways; one in a literal way, you will familiarize yourself through the hardships of trainings and know whether you pushed your body too far or of you can go further. Second is knowing yourself metaphorically. One can achieve a certain zen during long runs, and since you spend a lot of time on the road, you begin to think about your life, where you are, your direction in life, among many things.

group run

I have always thought that any race starts at the last kilometre. Who among us still has fuel in their tanks. Who can dig deep. Who can still push at the last kilometre. I forgot the most important thing: who ran with the most heart.

Some learned the importance of focus in training, and how abstaining from alcohol and quitting from smoking will greatly help their performance in the course of this training. Some also learned that during the course of training for a marathon – their body is the most important tool (second to the running shoes of course). Running shoes are mainly tools to help you run but they cant run by themselves to the finishline. It’s all you.

The training was quite extensive and demanding. It took time away from our friends and families – but always fueled by glory to finish their first marathon.  Through them, I rediscovered one of the most important things in endurance sports: running with heart.

group run 2

Thea was such a trooper, and focused on getting the job done. Fiona was a machine and followed the training to the T. Mai was very committed and just muscling through the pain and hardship. Mayen was focused and determined to finish every workout. Riki managed to adjust and change her life around the sport. Bob, a former triathlete, dug deep none like any other. These athletes are one of the finest I’ve ever trained with. They may not perform at a national level, but they sure are focused and determined like one.

Mayen and Thea lived all they way in Valenzuela; Mai from Paranaque and Riki from Antipolo – driving to QC for the trainings was a feat in itself. More importantly each and every one of them pushed themselves to wake up in hours that they never saw – being in constant motion for 30 plus kms hour after hour. One step over the other, no matter how hurt they were mentally, physically, and emotionally, they kept moving forward. Moving at a progressive manner, inching their way to glory inch by inch, one kilometre at a time – with a simple motion of moving forward, you move further away from where you were.

We’re all familiar with the saying that ‘your first marathon changes your life forever’ – but from what i witnessed from the 6 of them, signing up for your first marathon is a commitment to a life of change.

They asked me how much would I charge for the training, I told them A) im not a certified coach, I just followed a marathon program and it has worked for me and I only train friends, B) I do not charge, I just asked them to pay it forward; I told them that the only payment I need is the same dedication that we put into training them, will be reciprocated through their focus and dedication for the marathon. And that whatever I or running has thought them, that they also teach this to other runners who want to sign up for their first marathon.

4 months of hard work – infinite moments of quitting, through dead toe nails, waking up when most kids are just about to come home from clubbing, ending long runs by lunch, heat training in unforgiveable temperatures, months of no parlor (for the girls). Hundreds of kilometres logged in their running shoes, forming and shaping after their foot, countless times times struggling to win the battle of pulling their tired bodies out of bed only to ask for more suffering in training. Running thru tears as the training got tough. 1 calorie after another burned and earned at the same time. Numerous painful showers from chafing, countless times of blisters (you wouldn’t believe how many times I heard: I need to go to the parlor). Thousands of reason used to motivate them – funny how mikey and I never ran out of things to say to them. But one thing sure worked for the girls, “If you keep running and moving, youll be inches away from that bikini body!”

To know that each and everyone of them crossed the finishline smiling, to see that sense of fulfilment in their eyes – makes every second training with them worth it.


How many people can lose sleep, be exhausted from training but at the same time can claim fulfilment in helping 6 people train and muscle through blood, sweat, cramps side stitch, dehydration, malnutrition and tears to finish their first marathon?  How many can claim to have trained with athletes that are all heart? Mikey and I can.

mai 3
– A tearful finish: Mai and Hec –

– Fiona, Mai, and Mikey –

Special salutations also to teammates who also helped during the course of the training: Migs, Timmy, and Paolo Jazz.

I am very grateful that our friends trusted me and Mikey in their training but I am more grateful that we had all accomplished what we had set out to run after: the marathon. I thank God for having planned all this, for Secondwind – without which all of us would not have crossed paths.