Filipino ultramarathon man Cesar Guarin is running the world

Cesar Guarin is connecting with Filipino expats on his journey round the globe.

Cesar Guarin, seen here in Abu Dhabi recently, plans to be the first Filipino global runner, covering 42,000km across 47 countries. Fatima Al Marzooqi / The National
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At 57 years old, the man dubbed the “Father of Ultramarathon” in the Philippines continues to pursue his passion for running while simultaneously paying tribute to the millions of migrant Filipino workers stationed abroad.

Just recently, the soft-spoken runner visited the Middle East for the seventh leg of his Run Around The World Quest tour. For 38 days, Guarin braved the rising heat and ran the roads of Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman and the UAE. By the time he wrapped up his Middle East stop last Friday in Dubai, Guarin had covered a distance of 1,265km.

Guarin has logged a total of 17,377km, dating back to when he first started his pursuit in 1983. Next on Guarin’s list are the US and Canada.

All in, he aims to cover a gruelling 42,000km in 47 countries across the globe to accomplish the feat of being the first Filipino to complete a global run. By his estimation – and provided that everything goes according to plan – the endeavour will be finished by around 2017.

How did you prepare for this run?

It’s actually the same when I’m preparing for a marathon. I train hard by running for almost the entire day on Sundays, then I will probably run for two or three days during the weekdays. But for me, 40 per cent is more about mental conditioning. If you’re aiming to run for 20, 30 or 40 days, it all boils down to willpower — the willingness to do whatever the situation is. You just cope with an injury or physical discomforts, and just try to adjust so you can accomplish your goal.

How about your diet?

I don’t follow a certain special diet. I’m more of an old-school type when it comes to that. I just make sure that I eat a balanced meal. I just keep my food intake light and stock up on energy food to keep me going for the day. I just stick with the food that my body is adapted to so I’ll be comfortable while on the road.

You’re obviously a seasoned runner. But how tough is it to run long distances on a daily basis?

Well, I’m not young any more. I started doing ultramarathons when I was 27 years old, and basically at that age your body’s ability to recover from fatigue is fast. Now, I need to really take a long rest after a run and it takes me a longer time to warm up in the morning. My running was also very intense when I was younger. I would cover 60 or 70km then. Now, I would just do 40 to 50km.

What’s your primary motivation for doing this global run?

Running is my passion. For me, running is a gift and the more I do it, the more I feel blessed. Also, I realised when I was doing the Trans-Europe run that I wouldn’t have been able to finish it without the help and support of fellow Filipinos who are residing there. So, it’s also a way for me to reach out to my countrymen who are abroad. There’s an overwhelming feeling of being part of a community.

What’s next for you after the global run?

I’m getting invitations to run and join marathon events both in the Philippines and abroad. I’m also engaged in promoting the sport of running in the Philippines, so I guess I’ll be doing more of that.

Any inspiring words for aspiring runners out there?

Not just for runners, but my advice for those who want to start doing something that they’re passionate about, it’s really important that you give your all-out best. Whatever it is that you love doing, strive to be the best in your chosen endeavour. I believe that’s the trick, you feel more fulfilled knowing that you gave your 100 per cent.

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