TBR DM Story: Gerry Llamas

Thursday, 24 March 2011  |  Bullish Insights

There is no better way to tell you what happened at TBR Dream Marathon than to have the runners share their own experiences with you.  This begins a series of articles written by TBR Dream Marathoners themselves telling you about their 42km journey towards achieving their dreams.

I met Gerry and Ping at a Bull Session last year. Two young lawyers and family men who I guessed just by first impression that they had their marathon training program printed in triplicates then notarized before they followed it to the letter.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  When I asked how training was going for both of them, Gerry replied with a smile: “Uhm do we really need to follow the training program?”  Alarm bells started ringing in my ear as I answered with an emphatic “Yes!”  (Ping later says that this was actually their wake up call to start taking training seriously.  Thank God they did!)


From the time the Ancient Greek messenger Phidippides completed his heroic run form Marathon to Athens to herald the victory of Athens over Persia in 490 B.C., countless have risen up to the formidable challenge of the Marathon, each with an inspiring story to tell, all with a proud medal of triumph. On March 20, 2011, this illustrious roster of elite runners was joined by 313 more. I was one of them.

I would like to think that my marathon story did not begin on race day itself but several years before that. I was born about 42 years ago, in the year 1968. It was an earth shaking year, I was told, as it was then that Manila was rocked by an earthquake strong enough to destroy an entire building. I wonder if it was a foreboding of memorable yet moving things to come.

My earliest foray at running happened when, as a La Salle-Taft grader, our P.E. teacher asked my classmates and I to sprint a distance of 100 meters. And run I did, the fastest I could muster. Right after, my P.E. teacher tapped me in the shoulder, raved at my running form and asked me to consider trying out for the Track and Field Team. Back then, nobody I knew was into running. I did not show up.

The lackluster incident soon faded in my memory, and life went on with amazing speed. I eventually finished high school and went to college, where I met my future wife, Tanya Enriquez. I pursued a law degree and became a lawyer. Not too long after, I got married and started a family of three (3) wonderful daughters named Angela, Sophie and Bea. I had my hands full, juggling litigation practice with raising a family, and it was little wonder that I found myself ballooning to almost 200 pounds and in dire need of drastic measures. At that point, I embarked on a roller coaster ride towards a healthier lifestyle. This included occasional running and weight training, interspersed with binge eating.

In 2005, my wife gave birth to our fourth child and only son, Martin. Unfortunately, my son was born with Trisomy 18, a rare chromosomal disorder which was not compatible with life. Barely a month after his birth, little Martin succumbed to his illness and passed away. He is now our angel in Heaven.

My family has since moved on from this tragedy, and our daughters have grown fast. In my quiet moments, I would run and dedicate my efforts in Martin’s loving memory.

In 2009, my law school friends Dacky Casino and Lawrence Luang challenged ourselves to join the “Globe Run For Home” 5K event. Hesitant at first, I was surprised with the fact that I was able to complete the race with little training. The rest, as they say, is history.

In the next two years, I joined races more than I can count. I gradually moved up to longer distances and ran 10k, 15k and 16k events, a number with running buddy, Ping de Jesus. A mere spectator at first, Tanya soon caught the running bug, and was joining 10k races herself. My 3 daughters, though, are a hard sell. No amount of persuasion could make them leave the comfort of their beds at 5:00 a.m. to join their Mom and I for the Sunday runs. And when they finally ran the 1.5k event at the Assumption Fun Run (ok, it was more a required school activity), Bea, my 9 year old, tired and profusely sweating, said: “This is my last race ever!”

In no time, I was already running 21k races, leading me to believe that I was ready for the “full mary”. With not much thought, Ping and I signed up for the TBR Dream Marathon 2011. Luckily, albeit not without a silent prayer, we both made it to the final list.

I could still remember Jaymie’s look of concern (which was more a look of consternation, in hindsight) when she learned at the Bull Session 2, the very first one we joined, that Ping and I had not been following the Training Log. Jaymie practically begged (and scolded?) the two of us, giving us the needed jolt to seriously get in the game.

With a few months remaining, we got deep into training. With a firm resolve, we ran, ran and ran until our legs and feet were sore. The Peacerunners, composed of Ping’s Ateneo Law School buddies Abel Alegre, Raffy Guina, Randy Guina and Edcel Bolinao, provided us the needed boost to keep going.

Finally, on March 20, 2011, after long hours of training, running, and walking, Ping and I lined up with our eager but nervous TBR Dream Marathon 2011 batchmates at the starting line at Solenad to begin the fulfillment of a dream. The mood was festive, and I exchanged high fives with my UP Diliman Class ’90 batchmate Naoemi Llamas, Ateneo Law Class’94 classmate Philip Gan, and Bull Session fellow “9:1” trainee, Jun Rodriguez, at gun start.

Everything that happened next was a blur. Ping and I ran at a very good pace all throughout the first loop, until we reached about Km 27. Like a thief in the night, we were suddenly robbed of all our energy as we struggled to trek the dark, hilly route. We dragged our weary feet to the next few kilometers, and we ended up walking more than we were running. We would not have escaped the melancholic rut were it not for the Dream Chasers’ tent at Km 30 manned by Ping’s Ateneo Law School friends, whose chippy, bananas and gummy bears tasted, at that point, even better than steak!

– Ping and Gerry –

Every step seemed a herculean effort from then. Pain enveloped our bodies. Beads of sweat incessantly trickled from our heads.

Before we knew it, we were at the homestretch of the race. Slowly and steadily, Ping and I came closer and closer to the coveted dream. But the heavy pounding of the pavement took its heavy toll on my tired body, and with only a kilometer away, I could barely lift my feet. And then I saw the most touching and heart-warming vision I had ever seen. Standing a few meters from the finish line was Tanya, whose ear to ear smile made her look as beautiful as the day I married her, and my three (3) lovely daughters, excitedly holding posters that read: “Don’t give up, Dad. You’re almost there!” and “A few more steps, Dad!” After giving Bea a kiss in the forehead, I sprinted to the end of a long and meaningful journey that took me 42 years to finish.

– Gerry and Ping with their hard-earned medals –


After finishing 110th place in the TBR Dream Marathon 2011 with a time of 5:44, Tanya told me that the day before the marathon, while I was at the Paseo Premiere Hotel for a pre-race rest, Angela, Sophie and Bea busied themselves making the creative posters they held for me on race day. Unbelievably, the girls woke up at dawn the following day and hurriedly dressed up for the long drive to Sta. Rosa just so they will not miss me cross the finish line. Still sore from the run, I asked the girls the next day if they will join their Mom and I for an upcoming 1.5 family race. With bated breath, I waited for their answer. The girls looked at each other and smiled. In unison, they said: “Yes, Dad!” Right then, I knew that all my hard work was worth it.

My daughters have always looked up to me as their pillar of strength. I am their father, protector from harm and provider. If I had not finished the race, their world would have crumbled and they may have lost faith and confidence in themselves. Now, I am a MARATHONER, and I am overwhelmed with the thought that by fulfilling my own dream, I had inspired them to reach for theirs. As I soothe my weary feet and train my eyes on my next marathon, I bask in the vision that in the TBR Dream Marathon 2021, while Tanya and I stand a few meters from the finish line holding up posters that read: “Don’t give up. You can do it!” and “Just a few more steps!”, our girls will be sprinting to the end of their own journeys. Hopefully, it won’t take them 42 years.

TBR Dream Send Off Party

Thursday, 17 March 2011  |  Bullish Insights

The one huge improvement we made to TBR Dream Marathon this year was to hold a TBR Dream Send Off Party for all our registered participants, their guests, Dream Chasers, and Pacers.  This was held last Saturday, March 12, 2011, at Mercato Centrale in Bonifacio Global City.  It was a full house, er, tent!  (Big big thank you to Mercato Centrale our Venue Partner for the TBR Dream Send Off Party. I shall be back there next week for the black paella.)

TBRDM2 Send off party (48)

TBRDM2 Send off party (8)

– Runners with Armand and Mitch Mendoza, our favorite nutritionist/coach couple who led our FREE TBR Dream Weight Management Program. They helped numerous TBR Dreamers reach their goal weight during our training –

TBRDM2 Send off party (32)

TBRDM2 Send off party (20)

TBRDM2 Send off party (33)

It was also the first day of redemption of TBR Dream Race Packs!  Each race pack included information about the race, a Thermos Bottle, and a P100 discount coupon to be used at any of the vendors in Mercato Centrale.  (Yes, since they were in carboloading mode, we didn’t implement any dietary restrictions for that day.  Kidding!)

– Photo courtesy of Jordana Queddeng –

TBRDM2 Send off party (7)

TBRDM2 Send off party (10)

The talk started out with Anton Diaz, a TBR Dream Alumni from Batch 2010 and one of the organizers of Mercato Centrale along with RJ & Vanessa Ledesma and Gary & Janice Villanueva, welcoming all the runners to Mercato’s new venue (near Starbucks Drive Thru and MC Home Depot)

TBRDM2 Send off party (21)

I shared the story of how TBR Dream Marathon was born and introduced TBR Dream Team composed of Jim Lafferty (represented by wife Susan that day), Neville Manaois (who briefed our runners on the course), Jun Cruz, Lit Onrubia, Miguel Pizarro and our legal counsel Atty. Raymund Martelino.

TBRDM2 Send off party (34)
– Susan Lafferty reads Coach Jim’s letter –

TBRDM2 Send off party (40)
– Lit wishes our runners the best before marathon day –

Last but not the least, we had the raffle with tons of gifts from our sponsors!

TBRDM2 Send off party (15)

TBRDM2 Send off party (62)
– with Ana Alfelor of New Balance –

TBRDM2 Send off party (65)
– Nikko brings home an NB Backpack –

TBRDM2 Send off party (56)
– with Mariel of Nathan –

TBRDM2 Send off party (68)
– Gift bag from Milo 3-in-1 –

TBRDM2 Send off party (80)
– Lucky winners of Timex watches –

It was a fun-filled day for our runners to eat, relax, and bond before the big day and for us organizers to wish them all the best on March 20, 2011!

TBRDM2 Send off party (81)

– Some of us from TBR Dream Team: my hubby, Miguel, Jun Bisnar, GM of our partner NUVALI, Neville Manaois, Little Miss Bull Runner, myself, Lit Onrubia.  Missing in the photo: Jim Lafferty, Jun Cruz, and Raymund Martelino –

Thank you once again to our generous sponsors.  Our partner: NUVALI. Our Co-Presenters: New Balance and Cherifer Premium.  Our Major Sponsors: Secondwind, Gatorade, Runrio, Photovendo. Our Minor Sponsors: Timex, ROX, Nathan, P&G, Omron, Thermos, Hammer Nutrition, Robinsons Supermarket, Forward Lean Running, Nutribar, Milo 3-in-1, Chris Sports, Starbucks, Kinesio Tex, Cadbury Zip, Health Food, Tiger Biscuits.  Our Hotel Partners: El Cielito, Paseo Premiere.  Our Media Partners: Men’s Health, Women’s Health, and Runner’s World. Our Logistic Partner: Creative Juice.

MERCATO CENTRALE is now located at the corner of 8th and 34th street, Bonifacio Global City near Starbucks Drive Thru and MC Home Depot.

Thank you to the hubby for all photos.

6 More Days to TBR Dream Marathon 2011

Monday, 14 March 2011  |  News + Promos


– Seen at NUVALI. Photo courtesy of Gejo Jimenez –

TBR Dream Marathon Route Map

Wednesday, 9 March 2011  |  News + Promos

Below is the 42km Course Map for TBR Dream Marathon on March 20, 2011.

The race will be held in NUVALI, Sta. Rosa, Laguna. The route will be a 21km loop x 2 all on paved roads within NUVALI. Roads will be well lit but runners who wish to bring headlamps or flashlights may do so.


  1. Start: Back of Solenad, near Parking Area
  2. Immediate RIGHT. Slight LEFT and LEFT again at Starbucks and LEFT onto NUVALI Blvd.
  3. Follow NUVALI Blvd. passing the rotunda.  Cross the bridge and, at crest of hill, turn LEFT until the MAJOR TURNAROUND. Follow Nuvali Blvd. back.
  4. RIGHT at Evoliving Center, then turn RIGHT heading to Abrio. Circle around Abrio Rotunda.  Go straight towards Solenad and make a UTURN. Make a RIGHT back towards Evoliving Center. RIGHT onto Nuvali Blvd.
  5. RIGHT at the bridge. Immediate LEFT after the bridge into Solenad. Weave through Solenad boardwalk and lake area. RIGHT at Italianni’s and LEFT at Domo Tomo to head out of Solenad area.
  6. Turn LEFT at the end of the road and LEFT again at Starbucks. LEFT back onto NUVALI Boulevard. This marks the end of Loop One.
  7. Start LOOP 2: Repeat Step 3 to 5.
  8. From Solenad area, head straight towards the FINISH LINE.

1TBR Route
Below is the same route map featuring the hydration stations, key stations, and Dream Chaser stations.

  • Hydration stations will have water and Gatorade.  This will be placed at every 1.5 km of the route.
  • Aid Stations will be placed at every other hydration station (approximately 3km).  These will have basic first aid kit, petroleum jelly (vs chafing), salt sachets, Tiger Tail foam roller (vs tight muscles), and Bodivance (for blood circulation and to battle cramps) manned by a nurse.
  • Key Stations will have more stock of water and Gatorade.  These will also have sponges, ice, bananas, Cadbury Zip chocolates, and Tiger biscuits.
  • Dream Chaser Stations will have 10-14 runners who will cheer you on and support you to get you through each kilometer.  Most of our Dream Chasers now are alumni of TBR Dream Batch 2010.  This time, they’ve gone the extra mile—literally and figuratively—to surprise you with super creative and unique ideas for each tent. I heard some have prepared music, cameras, and tons of food!
  • Others:
    • Hammer Gels will be distributed at the assembly area at 1:30 AM.  They will also be placed near the 10km station and 21km station.  We have allocation of 3 gels per runner.
    • Kinesio Taping will be available before and during the race to be placed by certified professionals. Until supplies last.

1TBR Route

TBR Dream Marathon: Important Dates to Remember

Sunday, 13 February 2011  |  News + Promos


To all TBR Dream Marathoners, please take note of these dates:

For registered runners who, for some reason, will not be able to participate in the race: Deadline for substitution of runners will be on February 18, 2011, 12:00 noon. This will be strictly enforced.

This is our longest run before the big day. Run it with your TBR DM batchmates in a portion of our race course. Fun!  Details to be provided this week.

Slow and easy run with TBR DM batchmates at Bonifacio High Street for 90 mins. If you’ve signed up for Run United on March 6, we can provide you with tips on how to run it safely and wisely.

Surprise surprise! All TBR Dream Marathon participants will be invited to our little send off party a week before the race. This will be a simple gathering we dreamed up for you. We’ll have our last Bull Circle talk before the race where a group of coaches/experts will answer all your race day questions. Plus, it’s an afternoon of fun, food, raffle prizes, and a whole lot of chatting and bonding with your batchmates.  This way, we get to finish all the partying before race day.  After you cross the finish line on March 20, 2011, you can get some rest and celebrate with family! More details to follow.

All participants are required to submit a medical certificate from their doctor ensuring physical fitness to participate in the race. Please prepare your medical certificates. We will advise soon where and when this should be submitted. No medical certificate, no race packet.

Thank you once again to our generous partners and sponsors: Our partner, NUVALI and our co-presenters, New Balance and Cherifer Premium. Major sponsors: Gatorade, RunRio, Photovendo, Secondwind. Minor sponsors: ROX, Nathan, Timex, Nutribar, Hammer Nutrition, Omron, Thermos, Chris Sports, Health Food, Forward Lean Running and Kinesio Tex. Logistics Partner: Creative Juice.