It has been a full week since the conclusion of the historical 2014 edition of the Boston Marathon, undeniably the running sport’s Holy Grail. Now on its 118th edition, the event is very special commemoration since the twin bombings that rocked last year’s Boston Marathon that killed three people and injured 260. It was an event that changed not only the event but the entire sporting world. Amazingly this is the year that signifies how the people of Boston and the World’s running community rise up to the challenge, they come up with two words to capture all the positive emotions of the event “Boston Strong”. In social media it is #BostongStrong.
And believe it or not, the typhoon ravaged city of Tacloban managed to send out its champion in to the running world’s grandest stage. Guys meet the amazing runner and two time Boston Marathoner sir Michael Quinlan of New Jersey!
So how on Earth did he became a TOES (Tenderfoot Organization of Enthusiastic Striders) and more importantly the champion of the Leyte Running Community? It started in Cebu Marathon, just two months after Yolanda’s wrath left unspeakable devastation into the island of Leyte. Remember how the good people of Cebu helped the Tacloban/Leyte delegation especially the TOES group get in to CCM? The story made waves on the internet until it reached the shores of the US of A. And so the next phase is that Michael Quinlan, after securing a volunteer job in a international non-profit organization in Tacloban, started to pursue the runners behind the CCM Campaign. In facebook, he found me.. he found TOES.
He arrived in Tacloban last March to volunteer and help in the rebuilding process under the campaign of The Volunteer for the Visayas. He was there in Tacloban for two weeks only but the amazing thing is he was deep in his training for the Boston Marathon. He brought his training program at the heart of Tacloban! Of course, the TOES welcomed his like their own, like a brother and a hero.
I only met him once on a group breakfast but I swear it was more than enough to know how great and down-to-Earth Michael Quinlan is. The guy probably deserves the sport’s Nobel Prize. It was a game changing event for the TOES group to meet someone of Michael’s calibre given the amount of tips and advice he gave to us.. plus the assurance that we have a home in the US if we go there. LOL.
What my teammates don’t know is that I forged an agreement with our uniform provider, Sir Nino Abarquez of Three of Me, to sponsor Michael a TOES uniform. Printed on the back is the word “Tacloban”. Michael absolutely loved the TOES singlet and he agreed to wear it on raceday at Boston. It is a great honor for TOES to have an American volunteer and a new found friend representing our banner on a grand level of competition.
Days before the gun start we posted this banner in our page and everywhere online.
Yup, we are also in full support of Maam Amale Jopson from Cebu city, one of our generous donors and saviour during those dark days after Yolanda. We owe the Jopson couples big time. We can only hope we can pay it forward. J
I think a lot of TOES were secretly monitoring the events of Boston Marathon online (booh! No tv coverage), because when I woke up early last Tuesday hours after the race they we are posting words of congratulations in our FB page! Michael Quinlan clocked in an amazing time of 2:49:43.
I immediately asked him of the experience and he told me in our chat,
“It was a wonderful experience running Boston again. And indeed a very special day for that city as well as runners all over the world!
All the good wishes I received from yourself and many other TOES teammates helped tremendously! I was hurting pretty bad by around 34K…but I kept remembering the team & all the great people in Tacloban, which helped me power forward & keep running despite the fact my mind & body were screaming stop!”
Thank you Michael, you made us all proud!