Cesar Guarin’s Sets For Global Run

Cesar Guarin has been an old fixture in the local running scene as he first emerged during the first running boom of the late 70s. When i started to take up running during the early 80s, he was already in the limelight, running in various local races until he set to run his first of many ultra running feats starting with the Trans-Pilipinas Ultramarathon, covering a total of 2, 251 kms from Zamboanga City to Baguio City which he did in 37 days.

Considered the “Father of Ultramarathon”  in the Philippines, he is now set to conquer another 30,000 kilometers across the world in the Global Run: Takbong Alay sa Pilipino at sa Buong Mundo.  Guarin is undertaking this near-impossible feat to pay personal tribute to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW).

Likewise, Guarin is dedicating his global run to Filipino street children, raising funds to help them through his group’s “Batang Pangarap” program. Guarin’s group teamed up with Overseas Filipino communities and various agencies to get underprivileged kids into running, and provide them with their basic needs and social development programs.

Backing Guarin on his worthwhile quest is the Philippines’ leading low-cost carrier, Cebu Pacific. In a special event held recently at the Xin Tian Di of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, the airline expressed its full support to the man known as the “father of ultra-marathon” in the country.

Guarin on one of his ultra runs in Europe

“Cesar Guarin is very inspirational. He is trying to do something that no Filipino has ever done before, which is to run around the world, the equivalent of a thousand marathons,” said Alex Reyes, general manager of the Cebu Pacific Long Haul Division. “He’s also reaching out to all the OFW communities in the countries that he’s visiting, reaching out and bringing a little bit of home to them.”

Reyes also expressed that not only is Guarin’s cause a worthy endeavor to support, his global run is aligned with Cebu Pacific’s core mission, which is to serve the Filipino overseas communities. “Today there is no Filipino carrier that flies to the Middle East.  We’ve chosen Dubai as our first long-haul destination to cater to Filipinos based there,” he said. “By making fares so much more affordable, OFWs can come home much more often or their families can visit them there.”

Alex Reyes (L), General Manager of the Cebu Pacific Long Haul Division, Cesar Guarin and Candice A. Iyog, VP for Marketing and Distribution during the launch of the Global Pinoy Run last week

“Through Cebu Pacific’s low-fare, great-value service, we hope that there will be more frequent reunions for overseas Pinoys and their families,” Reyes added.

With Filipino OFWs in Europe

Guarin’s goal to circumnavigate the world on foot started with a dream: he wanted to be the first Filipino to bring home the Olympic gold marathon medal. After failing to qualify for the 1980 Moscow Olympics because of an injury, he channeled his frustrations to completing the Trans Pilipinas Run, covering 2,251 kilometers from Zamboanga to Baguio in 1983.

Guarin followed this achievement with the Trans USA Run in 1985, running across 14 states in 48 days non-stop, from Mondays to Sundays, literally from the east to the west coast.

These ultra-distance runs gave him the training he wanted, and improved his strength and endurance. He joined the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, but was again thwarted by an injury. Rather than feel defeated, Guarin persisted on and was back on his feet by 1992.

Cesar talking about his upcoming global run during the launching of his Global Pinoy Run at Crowne Plaza Hotel last week

He set out for the Trans Europe Run, covering a distance of 3,756 kilometers from Barcelona to Rome in 67 days. His Europe run was filled with challenges. Their corporate sponsor backed out at the last minute and they had to improvise using a mountain bike instead of a support vehicle. His long-time friend George Tan had to carry 50 kilos of supplies across 6 mountainous European countries for two months on bike.

Now 57 years old, Guarin continues to challenge himself and is determined to conquer the rest of the world. His next stop, the Middle East, is seventh of his 15-stage worldwide run. While the tough weather conditions and rough terrains may intimidate regular runners, Guarin considers them part of the challenge and is looking forward to the adventure that awaits him.

Next Challenge: 1,265-km Solo Run in the Middle East this 2013

Guarin will now embark on his Middle East Run challenge, referred to as “the toughest extreme distance run” among Cesar’s 16 stages of his global run. To finish this ultra-marathon  Cesar will have to complete the total distance in 6 countries in the Middle East (UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait).

Next stop, the Middle East

Finished (1983 to 2011) –

Stage 1: Trans Pilipinas Run                             2,251 km   37 days   1983

Stage 2: Trans USA Run                                    4,960 km   87 days   1985

Stage 3: Trans Europe Run (6)                         3,756 km   67 days   1992

Stage 4: US–Canada Run                                 1,272 km   29 days   2009

Stage 5: Trans Australia Run                            2,053 km   36 days   2011

Stage 6:  Finland–England Run II (7)              1,820 km   45 days   2012

In Progress (2012 to 2017) –

Stage 7: Middle East Run (4)                            1,265 km   31 days   2013

Stage 8: USA – Alaska Run (2)                         3,134 km   74 days   2013

Stage 9: Japan–Korea-China Run (3)             2,857 km   68 days   2014

Stage 10:  Austria–Greece Run (3)                  3,065 km   60 days   2014

Stage 11: Russia–Hungary Run (6)                 2,539 km   60 days   2015

Stage 12: Egypt–Jordan Run (3)                      2,290 km   50 days   2015

Stage 13: Brazil–Argentina Run (3)                 3,144 km   75 days   2016

Stage 14: India–Nepal–Bhutan                        2,223 km   48 days   2016

Stage 15: Myanmar–Singapore Run (3)         3,766 km   90 days   2017

Stage 16: Brunei–Philippines Run                   2,067 km   50 days   2017

The runs will be on desert roads and around an oval course in regions or areas where road running is prohibited or illegal. At 1,265 kilometers, it’s going to be a challenging run, which may take 40 or more days to complete.

Global Run Middle East will surely be one of the most memorable and exciting global run stage that Cesar and his team will venture. For Cesar Guarin, global running is an incredible life changing experience where he challenges himself against some of the most rugged and beautiful landscapes in the world. Once he finished this run he will be the first person to have run an ultramarathon of this magnitude in the Middle East.

At the launch with fellow bloggers

Yours truly with the man himself

“I’m happy that Cebu Pacific is backing this global run. This started as a very personal project, so I’m really delighted that we’re getting more support,” said Guarin. “Choosing Dubai as one of their first long-haul destinations and offering low fares show that Cebu Pacific, like me, is a supporter of Global Filipinos,” he added.

Running: Dekada ’80


There’s a short thread discussion about running during the 80’s at the takbo.net website and this brings back a lot of memories when the running boom here in the country was still in its infancy. A lot of running clubs were active back then although races were sporadic wherein one or two races were held once a month. The Filipinas Third World Marathon, the Milo Marathon and the Philippine Airlines International Marathon were the races to join when you wanted to finish the full marathon.  

I also remember joining smaller races and among the known ones were the Saucony 10k Run, Magnolia 20k Race, Yakult 10 miler and the Brooks 10k Classic. Well,  today’s running resurgence has grown by bounds as all weekends are now full of races in every distance conceivable.    

But what was running in the 80s look like back then? When i came back to running early in 2008 and started joining races, i noticed one particular aspect that runners of now abhor while it was perfectly acceptable back then. During the 80s, the use of large plastic drums and water ladles (tabo) were the norm to hydrate the runners. The water was always ice-cold because they drop huge chunks of ice in the drums of water and use the ladles to pour water in plastic cups. When i read and heard complaints about their use being unhygienic, i couldn’t help but laugh about the notion. When i asked one Doctor friend who has been a runner since those days and still active now, all he could say was, “ganyan talaga mga runners ngayon, maaarte!” (Runners these days are finicky).  

Well, i didn’t get sick while this was being practiced before. At a recent race, i saw in one water station marshalls pouring water in cups but instead of the water ladles being used, they used a water pitcher! 🙂 Here are some highlights which i contributed at the takbo.net thread of what running in the 80’s was like:  

— There were no sports drinks (gatorade) back then. We survived the full marathon just on water alone. Lipovitan was the energy drink of choice.

— Registration fees for 10ks/5ks started at P50.00. When some races charged P80.00, runners complained.  

— Finisher’s T-shirts were preffered than singlets during those times. The shirts were only given after you have finished the run.  

— The smell of “omega pain killer”, “efficascent”, “tiger balm” and other liniment oils were evident at the starting area before the race.  

— Women runners were scarce and few during the 80s. They were often gaunt, skinny, dark and haggard looking.  

— Elite runners during that time were Jun Tabunda, Jimmy dela Torre, Edgardo Pedregoza, Leonardo Illut, Renato Unzo, the Carmelo brothers of Baguio City and the girl wonder, Joan Laput.  

— The race distance of 20k was very common during the 80s. The course was usually from the Quezon Memorial Circle towards Fairview and back.  

— The first Pinoy running magazine was not TBR mag nor the Front Runner. There was one, (Philippine Running Globe, if i remember it right) was published by Mr. Elpidio Doroteo during the 80s which came out with about 6 monthly issues only. Its format and size was similar to that of Runner’s World and Front Runner magazine.  

— Botak was the first locally manufactured running shoe. It had the “kidlat” emblem and cost about P400.00 per pair.  

— Cesar Guarin, owner of Botak was already doing ultra-runs, from Mindanao up to Appari.  

— Some singlets were designed like fishnets and almost all singlets and shorts were purchased from the Botak store in Kamuning.  

— The famous race organizers were Elpidio Dorotheo, Jose “Jun” Castro, Red Dumuk and Rudy Biscocho.  

— Old Runner’s World and Running Times issues were available at Rizal Avenue at P20.00 per.  

— Saucony and Brooks running shoes were readily available at SM stores.  

— Nike, Asics (Tiger) and New Balance were available as imports at the Greenhills Shopping Center or at the Cartimar Market.   

During one of the Avon Races way back in 1983. Guess who that skinny runner on the right is? The pouch belt is a given.

  — Most importantly, all runners that i know of during those times were running not to set or break Personal Records on their 5/10/20k races but to be able to run and finish a marathon!