A goldmine of inspiring stories | Inquirer News

A goldmine of inspiring stories

/ 06:38 AM September 29, 2013

The recent Cebu qualifying race of the 37th National Milo Marathon drew a record 24,067 runners. Officemates, running buddies, barkadas, classmates, jaded runners, first timers as well as wellness enthusiasts inundated Cebu City’s streets last Sept. 22 in  a colossal wave of green.

As daunting as the physical count, the number also represents the variety of reasons why they run.

Some do it to fulfill academic obligations, others for the love of running while some run to keep physically fit.


But two of the more inspiring stories in the Cebu leg of the annual race came from a 68-year-old accomplished runner who defied his doctors’ orders to take a momentary break from the sport after a dangerous heart condition  was accidentally discovered. The other was that of a mother who has to take up the sport to augment a  meager income   to meet  her growing family’s needs.


Meet ultra marathoner Dr. Abraham Manlawe and running mom Mary Jane Beboso who found triumph and redemption in the Milo marathon…. the country’s longest and most prestigious running event.


It was in 1999 when Dr. Manlawe, a child and adult psychiatrist, was bitten by the running bug. Since then, he has embraced the sport with a  passion matched only by his dedication to his profession. And over the years, the running sexagenarian has accumulated such an impressive portfolio of accomplishments.

In 2011, he finished the 100-kilometer Century Properties Ultramarathon Run from Bogo City to Cebu City in two days and was accorded the “Oldest Finisher” award. He completed his first marathon in 1994, finished his first ultramarathon in 2009, climbed Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia in 2007 and did his first 65k run in 2010. He was definitely well on his way to  conquering more daunting obstacles.

Then last March, or five days after completing a 40k run from Mount Manunggal, Dr. Manlawe’s doctor accidentally found a clot in his heart and promptly advised him to stop running or run the risk of more serious consequences.

“It was by accident when my doctor discovered the clot. He advised me to stop running until further notice because it could put me out of running for good,” said Dr. Manlawe.


For three months, Dr. Manlawe followed his doctor’s orders. But the itch proved too much to bear. Soon enough,  he found himself lacing up his running shoes again.


He said he is aware that he is taking a big risk but he just can’t stop running.

“As a doctor, I know the feeling if your patient does not listen to you. But I have to cheat my doctor. I just can’t sit and let the days pass without indulging in my favorite sport because I believe that it is running which made me live longer and healthier. I have no regrets defying my doctor,” he said.

Then last Sept. 22, Dr. Manlawe competed in the centerpiece 21-kilometer half marathon of the 37th National Milo Marathon Cebu Qualifying Leg where he clocked two hours and 12 minutes.

Today,  Dr. Manlawe is   advocating the the  promotion of  running to the youth to wean  them  from too much dependency on technology.

“When we say technology, it’s video games, social networking sites and other devices that make your life easier. Yes,  it’s a huge help but the young are abusing the conveniences that technology offers and neglecting  exercise and, thereby, their health. As a runner, I have to do something to encourage the youth to engage in sports and physical fitness rather than spending hours facing the computer,” he said.

Dr. Manlawe said that running develops discipline, improves one’s health and fitness, things that he wants the young generation to learn “from an old man like me.”

After all, he has more than enough of life’s lessons to share.


Before the birth of her daughter Ruji Mae in 2009, a third or fourth place finish in regular fun runs held every Sunday morning is reason enough to celebrate for 23-year-old Mary Jane Beboso. Being outrun by other elite runners at the finish is becoming regular fare. But she is not complaining. The meager cash prize she regularly receives is, after all, helping  to make ends meet.

Everything changed when she gave birth to her baby girl.

Beboso told herself she’d had enough of bridesmaid finishes. Maybe it’s a mother’s natural desire to see to her offspring’s needs that prompted her to dedicate more time to training and gun for nothing less than the bigger prize money to bring home to her waiting child.

Last Sept. 22, a much stronger and more prepared Beboso was among thousands of runners who trooped to the starting line of the 2013 Cebu Qualifying Leg of the 37th Milo National Marathon.

And this time, the young running mom was determined to bring home the bacon for  her  daughter, Ruji Mae.

Barely 45 minutes after the starting gun blast, Beboso crossed the finish line first in the grueling 10k category, beating the same elite runners who had humbled her in the past. After breasting the tape in 44 minutes and 47 seconds, Beboso received a warm embrace from her most prized trophy….her daughter.

“I joined the 10k run while my two younger siblings joined the 3k hoping for the  chance that we will land in the top 10,” said Beboso. “That first place finish was truly unexpected. It was a welcome surprise knowing that the P5,000 cash prize will go a long way in helping my family,” added the beaming mom while clutching her trophy and her baby.

After her breakthrough win in the Cebu Milo run, Beboso is setting the bar higher. Now  she wants to push herself to the limit by conquering the longer distance runs.

“I’m tired of finishing third or fourth. Now that I finally reached the top in the 10k, it does not mean that I’m going to stop chasing after my dream to become a champion in longer distance runs,” declared Beboso, determination written all over her face.

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With her four-year-old daughter giving her boundless inspiration to excel, who knows what this running mother can achieve. A slot to the National Finals of the Milo Marathon perhaps?

TAGS: Cebu, Marathon

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