TBR Dream Stories: Gari Tiongco, Bib No. 267; Gene Tiongco, Bib No. 268; Greg Tiongco, Bib No. 269; Bryan Ermac, Bib No. 102; Lynette Ermac, Bib No. 103; Warren Ermac, Bib No. 104

Monday, 31 May 2010  |  Bullish Insights

The Tiongco/Ermac family stood out in our crowd of TBR Dream Marathoners. They usually came early as a group to most of our Bull Circle talks and Bull Session clinics. And, during the race, they ran together, in their distinct uniforms, running most of the route together.  It was obvious that they were seriously committed to their marathon dream…and to supporting each other.

Here’s their inspiring story about marathoning and family.


Written by Gene Tiongco…


– TBR Dream Marathon Finishers: Team Tiongco/Ermac –

To write about my first marathon, I have to write about how I began running in the first place. And to write about how I started to run, I have to write about the people I run with.  To mention myself, I have to mention my co-runners.  This is my story and most probably our story.  This is after all, a family story.

We are a group of 6, 30-something year old runners.  Yes, we are all related as we are cousins.  We are made up of 3 brothers (Gari, me, Greg, 2 brothers (Warren and Bryan) and  Lynette (Bran’s wife).   Our running story is nothing extra-ordinary.  We started in 2008, joining 5K runs and feeling so exhausted after.  But we kept on running and so did our love affair with running blossomed.  We turned to each other for support and encouragement.  We even started following thebullrunner.com in mid 2008.  5k runs turned into 10ks then we moved to 15ks and finally 21ks.  We were happy with all  the 21Ks that we entered and never mindful of the time, but as long as we all finished, that was our ultimate goal.  When word got out of the TBR Dream Marathon, we did not hesitate to join.  We all prayed and hoped that all 6 of us will be included.  And as fate would have it, we all made the list.

The training preparations came and we followed the training plan  to the hilt.  Sacrifices were made as we skipped our weekend night outs and parties to prepare for our long runs.  We limited our alcohol consumption as well.  We ran in UP, Tagaytay, Greenhills and even in Nuvali all for the sake of training and, yes, for the love of running.  Even as some of us were abroad or on vacation, the mentality of having long runs stuck as no one deviated from the training plan.  We even had a uniform done for the race.   More than the long runs, it was moments like these that draw us closer together and as we ran we talked about life, our children, our country and everything else.  These made us closer and eventually accountable for each other.  This is where we all felt the value of togetherness and what a team is all about. We learned to value each other. It was all about support and complimenting each other and of course bringing out the best in each one.

The night before the run, we all slept in one house as we mapped out the course and check all the necessary things for the run.  We planned our pace.  We all vowed to look out for each other even as we finish with different times.  We were each others’ strength  and compliment. This was not just about being runners, it was about being family.


– Pre-Race Meal with fellow TBR Dream Marathoners –

The day of the run came and as we cheered with Jaymie and Jim that we will be marathoners by lunch time, we knew that whatever happens, we will savor and enjoy the moment….together.

The route was perfect.  Whenever we pass by other dream marathoners we could only hear words of encouragement and compliments. We ran strong and smart.


– Bryan, Gene, and Gari –

When we reached the 33K mark, then our obstacles and trials came.  One of us had severe cramps, and as we reached out to help, he encouraged us to just run and never let go of our dream of finishing a marathon.  With the help of the dream chasers, he was able to run back. We were tired, cramped and the heat was already torching us, but we encouraged each other and as we ran our own pace the last 8 kilometers, we know that at the finish line we will all be waiting for each other.


– Gene –


– Greg with wife, Tinine –

Aside from the  training we had, it was our support for each other that provided the strength for us to finish.  As the finish line was near,  we were all rewarded with the most precious prize of all:  our families waiting for us, our loving wives and sweet kids were at the finish line waving banners and cheering us on.  It was like coming home to the sweet comforts of the family.  This was the most inspiring moment for us.


– Gari runs towards the finish with his kids –


– Fans of Team Tiongco/Ermac –


– Marathoners Bryan and Lynette with their kids –

When the last member of our team arrived, we all hugged each other and smiled and proudly proclaimed that we were all finishers.  It wasn’t about the time we finished it anymore,  it was all about having each other finish.  More than that, we realized that even in times of trials and a long journey, we have each other…. all the time.

Thank you  Jaymie, Jim, Atty. Raymond and the TBR team for providing us this memorable experience and making dreams come true…For making us realize the value of togetherness and family.  And yes,  we will all pay it forward on the next Dream Marathon.