Out Now: Running Couple Mark & Bea Hernandez on TBR Magazine

Monday, 24 June 2013  |  Interviews + Features

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:

This is a story about Mark and Bea Hernandez, love and running… and why couples should take note


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.

TBR on swimbikerun.ph

Friday, 16 March 2012  |  Interviews + Features

Thank you to swimbikerun.ph for interviewing me for their Women’s Month special.  Who would’ve known this runner girl would ever hit the pages of a triathlon website?  Well, who would’ve known this runner girl would ever sign up for Ironman 70.3 Cebu?

Oh, Ton Gatmaitan, I hope you like the last line.

Click HERE to read the full interview.


TBR Dream Marathoner Remi Velasco, 2011 Palanca Awardee Stages a Play for Ondoy Victims

Wednesday, 22 February 2012  |  Interviews + Features

One of the biggest gifts of TBR Dream Marathon to me is the opportunity to meet runners of all shapes and sizes. Boy was I surprised to discover that one of our TBR Dream Alumni and 2012 participant is a 2011 Palance First Prize Winner. She is Remi Velasco, author/playwright of “Ondoy: Ang Buhay Sa Bubong,” the 2011 Palanca First Prize Winner for Dulang May Isang Yugto.

2010 bullrun
– Remi Velasco finisher of TBR Dream Marathon 2010 –

Palanca award
– Remi receiving her Palanca Award in 2011 –

Remi sent me an email a few days ago about her current project to help Ondoy victims and I’m sharing it with you in an attempt to help a fellow runner help others:

Title: Ondoy: Ang Buhay Sa Bubong A Charity Event
Where: Tanghalang Huseng Batute, CCP
When: March 17-18, 2012 3pm and 8pm
Tickets available at CCP or ticketworld
Ticket Price: 350 or more for cash donations

“Ondoy” was staged at Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) in 2010 and 2011 and at the 2011 Palanca Awards Night.

– “Ondoy: Ang Buhay Sa Bubong” Poster at the Virgin LabFest 6 2010 –

This March 10-11, 2012, the play will once again be shown at CCP. This time around, it will be a staging for a cause. All proceeds will go to the victims of Typhoon Sendong (we are also trying to include the recent earthquake victims.)

The cast of the play Ms Cai Cortez (Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank), Mr. Jelson Bay (Tanghalang Pilipino), Direk Uro de la Cruz (Bubble Gang Director) and Remi, the author, have agreed to waive their talent/professional fee for the said project. CCP also allowed them to stage the play for free.

However, THEY NEED HELP TO HELP. The manpower cost of CCP is not for free. They need sponsors for the manpower, logistics, marketing and advertising. Please click HERE to download Remi’s formal letter of request for sponsorship if you wish to help.

I was quite curious how a playwright / runner lives her life and so I thought I’d feature Remi on this blog too. Here’s a short interview.

1) How did you become a playwright?

I never dreamed of becoming a playwright, really not a second. When I was a kid I would rather sing, dance or honestly run than write.

Ondoy: Ang Buhay Sa Bubong is the first play that I wrote. If I may say, it was also the first entry I had for Palanca and my first Palanca Award. Pretty special for me. I am a Copy Writer and News Writer prior to writing this play.

I drew my inspiration in writing the play from the victims of Ondoy. I (and my younger brother) donated some relief goods and spent time packing and helping out in distributing them. But when I saw people who were helpless, starving with nothing to eat and seeking for their missing loved ones, I felt all the more depressed. I couldn’t sleep. I promised to myself, I wouldn’t stop on merely giving goods. I would like to share something that will leave impact to people. I thought of writing a film first, but I was pressed for time. So, there goes the birth of “Ondoy: Ang Buhay Sa Bubong.”

2) How long have you been running?

I wrote a whole article about this actually, but I’ll give the gist…

Long before I found my passion in writing, running has been in my blood. I started running since elementary days or since I can recall. I remember I was very little, I would wake up at 5am to jog or run.

I didn’t care if there were days that I would sleep scarcely. I got to wake up earlier than usual and run with my sister, a friend and her dad’s group. We would run 3k. In our province, we were part of the group who welcomed the sunrise, listened to the “tilaok ng manok” and smelled brewed coffee of the neighbourhood. We bonded as kids and had great time! At school, I would run with or without shoes. My mom would complain. In a year, she couldn’t count how many pairs of shoes that I would get damaged. She once quipped, “I’d ask for a metal pair of shoes just for you!”

It was an impossibility that I wouldn’t run. RUNNING makes me happy and free.

3) Why did you decide to join TBR Dream Marathon 2010?

42K is a challenge. Running in itself is a challenge. It has taught me a lot. I have learned and appreciated the art of winning and not quitting. I learned that the more that I felt exhausted, the more that I pushed myself forward. The more that the number of my opponents increased, the more that I jolted my energy.

TBR 2010 is one of the moments that I love to look back to. It is self-fulfilling and rewarding. When I encounter some pressure, I would recall my last 15K which were the hardest to finish. If I had conquered this challenge why not on other aspects of life.

People are always amazed when they learn that I am a 42K finisher. Some of my acquaintances were inspired and started running as well.

4) Does running and particularly training for a marathon help you become better at your craft? How?

YES, definitely! As a writer, I need to clear my thoughts and make myself free. Running is one of my happiness. As I said, it makes me happy and free. It is my connection to nature and a form of communication to myself and to the heavens. I greet sunrise and sunset when I run. I love feeling the rain drops. I appreciate seeing everything green around me. I love when the wind blows and touches my face. That is why I love running outdoor.

Many times, I have come up with ideas while running.

When I run, I can test my physical strength. My mind just wouldn’t give up even if I am already exhausted. Sometimes, I think my feet have their own minds.

I pray while I run, too. I become more grateful in everything I have. The feeling of freedom makes me feel part of nature which is pretty special.

In short Ms. Jaymie, running plays an extraordinary part in my life.

2012 bullrun training
– Remi at a training run –

Runner’s Interview: Dan Brown

Friday, 16 December 2011  |  Interviews + Features

There was a time when I would interview runners regularly for this blog (click HERE to read past interviews). Recently, I decided to start doing them again.  We all can learn a thing or two from the experience of other runners and draw inspiration from their achievements.

This week, I interviewed 15-time Ironman and 8th place Ultraman World Champ Dan Brown.  Read on…

dan queenstown

Name: Dan Brown
Age: 35
Years running: My whole life. Competitive running for 12 years
Years into triathlon: 10 years
Accomplishments: 15x Ironman Triathlon, 8th place Ultraman World Championships (Swim 10k, Bike 476k Run 84.4k), Australian Half Ironman (70.3) Champion

How and when did you get into running? Triathlon?
I have always had a passion for running. I love how free it makes you feel and how your body feels when you run. When I was young my grandpa called me the ‘running machine’. For triathlon I was particularly impressed by how ‘fit’ a few of my friends seemed who did tri’s and when I found out about the distances of 3.8k swim, 180k bike and 42.2k run I was like ‘thats crazy! But at the same time I was thinking ‘I want to do it!’ From there my training got a bit more serious and then it got a LOT more serious! haha.

When did you start coaching athletes? Can you tell us about your background as a coach?
I worked as a P.E teacher in a school for 3 years and did a lot of athletics with children. I began coaching them at track and for cross country. I studied level 2 middle distance running and also did my Cert 3 strength and conditioning study and began working with athletes in the gym also (Yes I used to have a bigger upper body than I do now!). Later on when I got into tri’s I started my own studio called ‘The next step running and endurance coaching’ and worked with adult athletes doing running technique analysis on treadmills and also altitude training simulation. Around this time I started doing online coaching and programming for running and triathlon which I still continue today.

If I were to hire you as my running coach, how would you train me for a marathon?
I look to look into the way an athlete lives, their business commitments, sleep hours, family time, goals, etc and try to work out the best way to remove certain barriers they may have to success. If someone is under a lot of stress etc they will likely not absorb the training as effectively as someone else due to poorer recovery so they may need need less volume and more quality in their weekly programming.

I like to look at nutrition also. Often a big factor inhibiting growth as an athlete is poor nutrition. This often sabotages good running intentions and consistency.

In terms of training distances I generally don’t like really long runs and prefer more quality workouts in the week as opposed to covering extreme distances. No one says you have to run 35k before a marathon in order to run successfully. In Ironman triathlon you don’t go out and do a 9-16 hour training day just to prove to yourself that you can, save that for race day!

Often these long runs can lead to injury. The longer you run the more your form and position will fall apart and the more prone you are to injury. Also, if you train slow, then train slow, then train slow then you will race slow! In general I prefer more consistent, frequent quality runs to make up the volume required to excel.

I coach athletes primarily through online coaching and usually try to meet with each athlete or do a session with them every week or couple of weeks wherever possible. The programmes are specific to each individual as outlined above and change regularly depending on goal races etc. My athletes regularly email me questions, talk on the phone, or skype also to get the most out of it. From Jan, I will do a regular track session or road run each week.

You were based in Australia, what were the events that led you to making Manila now your home? How are you liking the running and triathlon community here?
I had been travelling a lot and competing in Asia and Europe in triathlon races and returned home to Australia to a very serious back injury which I carried for a long time. I tore the L5 S1 disk in my back and for the first 4 weeks I couldn’t walk, lie down and was being assisted even to the CR! At this time I realized I needed a change. I have travelled a lot to Asia and thought I may try getting a job as a national coach of a triathlon team. Things moved fast and I ended up as coach of the Philippine team for 2010 and 2011. The endurance sport community is growing fast here and it is exciting to be involved in coaching, competing, events and elite sport development at the moment.

Kenting 70.3
– Dan on the bike during Kenting 70.3 –

While a lot of people know you are into triathlon, not too many know that you are into marathons and into ultramarathons. What is it that you love about marathons? Ultramarathons?
My first love is running, as I outlined above before so I really love all forms and distances. I ran an 84k ultramarathon on day 3 of the Ultraman race in Hawaii and loved it. I ran the first the marathon in 3.08 and ran the same pace for the next 10k before my ITB tore and I had to do a lot of walking/suffering for the last section! At the end my left quad was twice as big as my right! Anyway despite that I loved the experience, felt great throughout (the running part) and will likely move into doing some events like that in the next couple of years. The Ultramarathon is one of the toughest events mentally you can do and that is probably why I will be drawn to it further as time goes on.

ultraman run
– Dan during the run at Ultraman race in Hawaii –

Can you give us a glimpse of your weekly training schedule?
I will race as a professional in triathlon events in 2012 so I am already preparing my body for my first race of the season which is Ironman 70.3 Sri Lanka on Feb 18. My weekly training hours are usually between 22-32 hours. It could be more or less depending on the distance I am preparing for.

Without giving too much away a basic week may look like.

  • Mon-AM easy bike PM easy swim
  • Tues-AM Long run PM focus Swim
  • Wed-Long Bike/Interval run off bike, PM gym
  • Thurs-Off
  • Fri-AM Interval bike PM Swim
  • Sat-Long bike/run off bike PM short run
  • Sun Long run/interval PM rec swim

How’s married life with Ironwoman Ani de Leon and life as a new father to Dash?
I feel so lucky to come to this country and meet Ani. She is an amazing lady in so many ways! She and I just knew immediately that we were meant for each other so subsequently things have moved fast and now we have a beautiful little boy Dash Daniel Brown born on Nov 29, 2011.

dan and ani pre race du
– with wife, Ironwoman Ani de Leon –

Mobile 09159537980
Email danielgbrown(at)hotmail.com
Facebook- Dan Brown
Twitter- nextsteptri

Taking 5 with Jeff Galloway

Thursday, 27 January 2011  |  Interviews + Features

This article will be published in the next issue of The Bull Runner Magazine to be released next week. My friend and Chi Running Instructor, Lit Onrubia, had an exclusive interview with Jeff Galloway for TBR Magazine before his much anticipated arrival in Manila next week. Here goes…

The running scene in the Philippines is better than ever! Races every weekend? Check. Ten thousand people in a single race? Done that. Expert race event organization? No problem. World-class coach teaching us how to run better? Um, sadly, no. That is, until now. Jeff Galloway — running and coaching legend, inventor of the Galloway Method, member of the 1972 US Olympic team and named one of 18 Runner’s World Experts in the magazine’s 40th anniversary edition — will be coming to Manila and Cebu from February 2-6, 2011 for a lecture and workshop series. Jeff recently shared his thoughts with us on how to run faster, longer and injury-free.

1. What is the most important lesson that you’ve learned throughout your running and coaching career about how to run at your best?

JEFF: There are two: 1) adjust your pace so that you can receive the boost to the attitude and vitality that each run can bring, and 2) be sensitive to your “weak links”. These are the areas of the body that ache more often and break down when pushed too hard. If you reduce training distance and intensity, at the first sign of an irritation (by inserting more walk breaks) you may not have to take any time off from running.

2. Many people believe that taking walk breaks slows you down, and that walking is a sign of weakness. What do you have to say about this?

JEFF: I’ve heard from over 300,000 runners who have used my training methods. Most find that the run-walk-run strategy actually speeds them up in races. Surveys back this up. When non-stop runners use the right ratio, the average improvement when using run-walk-run is over 13 minutes in a marathon. Walk breaks allow runners to train for marathons and other events, without being tired all the time.

3. You’ve run over 150 marathons. Millions around the world dream of doing it. What makes the marathon so special?

JEFF: There is no other experience in life that gives the combination of satisfaction and achievement, as that experienced from finishing a marathon. I hear from thousands every year who tell me how it has improved the quality of their lives!

4. I’m an experienced runner but i’ve plateaued. My race times are no longer improving. What can I do to improve my time?

JEFF: Longer long runs (run very slowly) have helped most. In addition, the following have improved race time significantly: running a greater number of speed repetitions, using some mental training techniques, and inserting the right strategy of walk breaks.

5. The running community in the Philippines is excited about your upcoming lecture and workshop series. What can they expect during your talks?

JEFF: I’ll explain how to stay injury free, how to stay motivated, how to run faster and farther without being tired all the time, efficient running form, the best food for performance, when to eat for best results, fat-burning, and mental training to break through barriers. I will also explain how to calculate the correct pace for each person, for long runs and races…and more!

Sales of tickets for The Galloway Method are on going.  Click HERE to view details.