Robert Daang is a familiar name on weekend fun runs. He’s one of those runners who are expected to be standing in the podium at the awarding ceremony of races. But it was not that fast for him to arrive on the podiums. Let’s have a peek of his running history.
We can consider him a late bloomer in running. He was not the typical grade school dasher, or university varsity runner. Though, he wished he knew running back in college as it could probably help him finish his college degree, criminology.
It was only in 2007 when he started running, but not to become a runner at first. It was part of his workout routine to become better in martial arts.
But he bloomed just in time the (2nd) running boom in Philippines, or Cebu, was taking off, which became a big part of his life, and vice versa.
Big Faith in His Self
With the constant prodding from one of his friends in martial arts, he then joined his first official race in 2007. To prepare for his first race, he just did his usual jogging, not keeping track of mileage or pace. But nevertheless, he believed that he was already fast. He just knew it that he was a fast runner.
Without any hesitation, he signed up for the 10K category of a fun run organized by Red Cross. On race day, he stayed with frontrunners at the starting line.
Of course, he was indeed fast. He was leading the race in the first few stretches, until he got burned out, and faded away.
The eventual champion of their category was Ruth Banzon, known to be a Boston Marathon finisher and one of the best running coaches in Cebu. While, he finished it with a time of more than an hour.
Though he burned out, and faded away to even clocked in a decent fast time in his first official race, it did not break down his faith in his self.
As he did not have a coach nor he had fast running friends back then, he had to be resourceful in knowing how to make his faith a reality. He resorted to eavesdropping from the elite runners during races.
When he overheard that they would be training in Abellana. He looked for it, and then he became a frequent “stayer” there.
And, it did not disappoint him as he got to have more runners to eavesdrop from: the university runners, other fast runners, and coaches. He then mimicked what they do. It was then he learned about following running programs.
Since he was living in Lapu-lapu, he also frequented in Hoops Dome, where Coach Loloy noticed him, and took him under his wings.
But a podium finish was still out of his hands. He may landed in top 10 from time to time, but he never got to become a podium finisher.
First Podium Finish
In the same race, Red Cross fun run, that he got burned out, and faded away 2 years ago, he finally landed as 3rd placer, after John Philip Duenas (2nd) and Simon Losiaboi (1st), a Kenyan.
But just like getting his first podium finish, becoming a champion in a race was not instant for him.
He lost the championship place by mere seconds to Jory Ycong because of an injury. But losing or being injured was not make it worst. What made it worst for him was he felt he did not give his all on that race as he still felt good at the finish line. And, somehow it was hard for him to forgive his self for not giving his best.
Most Challenging Duel
It was during the Dagan Para ni Manong Amo 2011 when he was leading, and he was already ecstatic knowing that he’d win the race, and finally would probably give him his first championship title.
But in the last 200 meters to the finish line, Duenas out sprinted him, and he could no longer find a strength to sprint. He lose the first place to Duenas by 2 seconds. Thus both of them had a finish time of 49 minutes for the 15k category.
Just as his quest to become a podium finisher, getting a championship did not come fast.
Crisis to Opportunity
It was in a 5k race, Kahit Isang Araw Unity Run, that gave him his 1st championship title. Almost 5 years from when he started back in 2007. He credited it to him having a chance to train in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, which is a high elevation location, a perfect training ground for training.
As having been in and out of employment, he and his wife would stay in Bukidnon, his wife’s home town, when he’d be out of work. Unemployment led him to have a chance to train with Junel Laguido, considered to be one of best runners in Philippine who clocked in a 1:11 time for Milo Cebu Leg 21K last year (story here >>).
But 2012 did not end as glorious as its opening, when he did not make it to top 10 for the CDO Prycegas Marathon, and that he even failed to get a sub-3 finish, which he was aiming for.
But his last marathon disappointment fueled him to train hard, and try again his chance in the Cebu City Marathon 2013.
Indeed, turning disappointment into motivation gave him as what he considered as his best performance in his running career, a 2:54 marathon, and made him one of the only 2 Filipinos, with Noel Tillor, in the top 10 of CCM 2013.
Championship is only the beginning
The saying, “There is no rest for the champions,” is true to Robert Daang. After all the championship titles and a great PR time in a marathon race, it’s just yet a beginning of breaking new limits.
This year, he got his first taste of ultramarathon at Labor Day Coast to Coast 65k Ultramarathon. But unlike in his other quest, ultramarathon was not that hard for him that he got the champion place in his first attempt.
Being acknowledged in the national level is one of the biggest accomplishments for any runner. It can be a mark that says, “you have arrived!” And, one way of achieving it is getting into the Milo National Finals, where the best of the best from all over the Philippines meet and compete.
So come Sept. 22, 2o13, he will again try to get the most coveted 1:15 qualifying time for Milo National Finals in Cebu Eliminations Leg (details here >>). The 1:15 is the qualifying time that will not only get them into the National finals, but also an all expense-paid trip. (More about how to qualify for Milo National Finals here >>.)
As they say that it takes 10,000 hours to become great (10 000-hour rule). In case of Robert Daang, it takes a big unbreakable faith of his own self that keeps him going and going to 10 000 hours for national finals and beyond.
He shared with us his trainings for his upcoming Milo Cebu eliminations race, difference of training for 21Ks and ultramarathon, running footwear tips, and others. Please watch out for it in our next post about Robert Daang here at runroo.