Bonifacio Monjas is one of the celebrated runners of his hometown, Baybay, Leyte. He moved to Cebu to attend college at PAP (Philippine Academy of Professionals) as a scholar student. He has then became one of the top runners of Cebu. And, as expected, he will be one of those competitive runners who will be toeing the starting line at 37th Milo Marathon 2013 – Cebu Leg.
Here’s a not so short list of facts about this amazing runner:
1. He may be short in height but not in ambition. His ambition was no less than to become a basketball player. But with the obvious lack in height, he was instead persuaded to join his friends to go for running.
Though, his basketball dream was cut short, he proved that he can go long… distance! The first race he joined back in Leyte was in a 15KM distance category, which he came out as the champion!
2. From running champion to running coach. Though he was acing in fun runs in different towns and barangays back when he was in grade school, he was not allowed to play in school’s track and field races, nor he was able to represent his school in inter-school competitions due to his age. But nevertheless, he became a coach to his school team. He was then assigned by the school to train their team, and be their guide in competitions.
Until now, he does coaching in his school, and other individuals. (If you need a running coach in Cebu, Philippines, feel free to message him here >>.)
3. As long as height is NOT a requirement, Bonifacio can do it, and even excel at it. In between running and schooling, Bonifacio helped out in farms: from rice fields, corn fields, to coconut fields. He was also a fruit vendor. And, he also dabbled as fisherman.
Thus, he was once awarded the Outstanding Young Agriculturist back in Leyte. He credited it to him having experienced working for farms to earn money.
He was also (and can still be) an aerobic instructor.
4. The PNP probably lost a fast dedicated policeman, but students will be lucky to have soon a great teacher! He opted to pursue a degree in education at PAP (Philippine Academy of Professionals), in Naga, Cebu, instead of criminology as he, again, failed in the height requirement.
5. Even in running, his height can be a disadvantage. According to him, because of his height, sprinting is his weakness as his strides can be shorter compared to other runners’.
But it can also be a blessing. With this slight disadvantage, it makes Bonifacio work hard on other areas to compensate for what he lacks in height. Thus, he, instead, flies! =)
6. On a serious note, he is one perfectionist individual, which made him, not only a great runner, but so with other things as mentioned above.
While taking a picture of him running, he did not let me stop until I got a good picture of a good running form. Though I find every move of him perfect, he could not fail to spot a bit of imperfection in his form. So that we would not reach 24 hours getting that perfect shot, I appeased him that I would just find a picture of him from great photographers. (This was our moment.)
7. He is gay, and is contagiously gay straight male. =) He is one of the runners who always have that ready warm smile to share with the others.
8. As they say people with the biggest smile may have felt the most pain. He could be considered an orphan. Born out of an against-all-odds relationship, both his father and mother went on their own separate lives; each of them have their own family now. He stayed with his mother but moved out when he noticed that he seemed to be the cause of the constant bickering between his mother and step-father. So he left as he wanted his mother to have a happier with her new husband. From then on, he learned to fend his self, and moved from one house to another: from relatives, to friends, and foster parents. Until he got to Cebu, where he is now living on his own.
Probably, it was in running where he found a home.
9. After all what happened to him and his family, he have no ill-feelings against any one that it seems nothing can make this guy angry; except when it comes to messing his race. Having gotten the 3rd place (the 1st among the Filipino) of the Xterra Trail Run 2012, he vowed to get this years championship title.
When he learned that this year 2013 could be the last Xterra Trail Run that Cebu would host, he wanted that the championship title would belong to him.
He was indeed leading the race with a Kenyan and another Filipino elite runner on his back. But a miscommunication with a marshal who pointed him to a wrong direction had him lose the lead. In the end, he had to painfully settle for a 3rd place.
It was truly a disappointing race for him as he really prepared for it, which means having to give up some weekend races. He was so disappointed that he signed up for another trail run, the Merrell Adventure Run at Mt. Sinai, San Mateo, Rizal.
He got the 3rd place of the said race. But, he admitted that until he has not yet move on with his Xterra 2013 disappointment. If Xterra will be back next year in Cebu, he will surely be toeing the starting line. And, better not mess with him!
1o. So how does he train? Self-training. He considered his self a self-learned runner though he credited his knowledge from the coaches who he had worked before, to the running friends, and other mentors.
I believe if he is able to figure his way out living on his own, from one home to another friend; how much more running! There is probably nothing else in this world he could not figure out.
10. He was one of the 3 Filipino runners who got the most coveted qualifying time of 1:15hours in last years’ Milo Cebu Eliminations Leg, which means that their trip to the finals was all expense-paid by Milo.
But what happened in his Milo Manila finals last December was quite the opposite of his elimination experience. He finished in 3hours plus time, which for him was a very slow one despite that it was his very first marathon experience, and that he suffered fever in the last 2KM that he was reduced to walking. Worse was that he even ended up with the worst injury that he had to use a cane when walking.
He will again be in this Sunday’s Milo Cebu Eliminations Leg. Though, he said that the is not that confident with his training this year compared to last year. But then having gone through all sorts of mishaps from 2012 Milo Finals, what could get worse?! Definitely, nothing can get this guy down easily!
For some additional inspiration, here’s a message we got from Ma. Jofel Serut, his fiancee:
To Bonn2x…wishing u all the best and luck to your upcoming competition.i know u can do it,whatever happens im alwys here for you to support in any challenges u may face..im praying for your safety and may LoRD GOd guide you in evrything.im so proud of you..Goodluck and GOd bless you..
We will share in a separate post the running tips Bonifacio shared with us. Please watch out for it!