Garry Garcia: Warrior… Be One!

The Warrior Ultramarathon is one of the pioneering ultramarathon races in Cebu. It’s on its 3rd edition this year. It’s one of Cebu’s ultramarathon races where it attracts a perfect mix of runners: from the newbie, elite fast runners, to seasoned ultra runners. It’s a race where runners who wish to be de-virginized in the ultramarathon distance look forward to. It’s a also a race where Cebu people will get a feel of who are to-look-forward to runners in the long distance races. But for the few or many, it’s a race that we fondly remember as which gave Melinda Ponce, a legendary female runner of Cebu, her first ultramarathon championship. Now let’s get to know one of the warriors that made this ultramarathon possible, and thriving. Well, getting to “know” is actually an overstatement because how do you write about Garry Garcia?! The guy who eats pain at endurance sports, while at the same time he makes sure that everyone in his hotel (Be Resorts, info here >>) have a flawless painless experience. I guess this shows that a warrior can be in many different forms, and different

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kind of battles. The Battle   He was a triathlete back in his younger days. But he stopped when he got busy with his university studies abroad; then ending up working in the hotel and resort industry after school did not help much with his physical wellness. Until he was diagnosed as “clinically obese,” his story into running can be the typical that-fat-guy-who-wants-to-get-healthy battle. But it got a bit twisted when he chanced upon the stories of Haide Acuna and Bro. Carlo Bacalla’s BDM Ultramarathon, which is considered the grand-daddy of ultramarathons in the Philippines. It made the battle of losing weight through running became more than that. The Pact: 12/2011 By 2011, Garry finished the BDM Ultramarathon, and at the same year made a pact that he would run 12 ultramarathons or marathons in 2011. How did he do that? It deserves a book. It was Garry’s crazy idea of running 12 ultramarathons or marathons that gave birth to the The Warrior Ultramarathon. Having missed one ultramarathon in Cebu back then, he thought of creating one to make up for it. That one became the The Warrior 50K Ultramarathon, which started in 2011. “*Special Idiot” Battalion From the goal of going to battle 12 ultramarathons or marathons, he ended up with 18, and a battalion of more idiots “ultramarathon runners” courtesy of The Warrior Ultramarathon. (*They say it takes a special idiot to run an ultramarathon.) The Warrior   It is probably a wonder why this hotelier whom we could imagine to be lying in a hammock sipping margarita at the beach instead “punishes” his self in races, in which there’s not much chance of him stepping on a podium, and he might even finish without any one waiting for him. (Read on his 1st Cebu Century Ultra Marathon 104.5KM experience, “Travails of running 104.5 kilometers alone,” featured in Sun-Star here >>.)

Photo by James Go

It can be rooted from what and who he is. He’s the type who always goes for the unconventional route. Being in the hotel industry, he prefers managing independent type of hotel over chain hotel, which has a more well-defined set-up and has an existing network of support. In a foot race, independent hotels can be likened to ultramarathons where risk and uncertainty may be the default setting. And, so it seems that Garry also has a different definition of victory. Victory is not landing a position in a successful business, but getting a business to be successful. It was 2009 when he landed in Lapu-lapu City, not for an ultramarathon or triathlon race but for a different battle. Like getting a “clinically obese” diagnosis, he was handed a hotel that needed to be shaped up. The hotel needed to be ripped off from its old image which was under a different name and management, then build it up again with a new identity. But unlike ultramarathon, managing a hotel does not have a finish line, and can even be a daunting24/7 non-stop race without a lack of very stiff competition. Just as Garry sees things differently, his view of his work make the battle less daunting: “Never a day did I go to work , I go everyday to do my passion” But just like how he viewed racing in an ultramarathon, winning does not only belong the those fastest to finish, but winning may also mean the one who has the will to endure the longest in a race. And, having Be Resorts continuously racing, now on to its 5 years under his management is a triumph, not only for him but for his team as well! Warrior for Others He has that calming effect when you’d see Garry in a race. While you get awed by the physical prowess of the elite runners, Garry can be a confidence booster that impossible is not exclusive to the physically gifted. He is that guy who would give up his race to pace a friend to his / her first time in running. He becomes a permanent fixture in the AWUM race as marshal in the last stretch, when all runners needed the most support. His being helpful does not only ends in running. For him, greater victory lies in seeing others triumph too. Thus, just like he created a battalion of ultramarathon runners through The Warrior Ultramarathon, he is also active in helping move the tourism industry forward.

HRRAC (Hotel, Resorts, and Restaurant Association of Cebu)

Why work on tourism industry? For him, “Tourism is one industry which cannot be outsourced.” And, thus he sees that sports events is one best way to boost tourism. Because sports binds people of different races, thus it’s a way for us to attract a more varied nationalities to come to our country. Thus, the Warrior ultramarathon will soon be a battalion of different nationalities. Sports does not only help tourism. But it also shows how big help running is to the Red Cross in Cordova where Garry is also a president. Also watch out for their first marathon. Tentative route will be around Lapu-lapu City. Garry’s love for running and racing seems boundless as he always sees them as an opportunity to become the best of him. But Garry understands that there is also victory in sacrificing for the others’ own victory. He knows that one of the best gift one can receive is to realize that “you are stronger than you think.” So seeing him in a race is a confidence booster that whatever happens, you can always pull through. His presence as a marshal becomes a Never seeing work as work, and races as torture but fThe best of me make him the best for others. Marshall at AWUM Pacer Simply the sight of him in races gives a reassuring feeling to the rest.   In a business that requires the best of him, having an ultramarathon warrior attitude is probably gives him edge of getting him thru the race. the energy-gel that helps him through the daily grind. But just like in his races, Garry seems to always make it through with a smile for the others. And, it can be best explained by what he said about his job:

“Never a day did I go to work , I go everyday to do my passion”

Warrior for Others In a business that requires the best of him, having an ultramarathon warrior attitude definitely probably gets him thru it. And, I guess that’s what make him separate from others. Passion. And, I guess that’s what made him a very inspiring runner — passion. Because though he was never the one to make it to the podium, he does it like he is going to be the champion.   “I join ultras not because I want say to I am the best, but I want to bring out the best in me.” – Garry Garcia In a business that requires the best of him, having an ultramarathon warrior attitude definitely probably gets him thru it. And, I guess that’s what make him separate from others. Passion.   Not only a good hotel but the whole hotel industry — Just like Garry Garcia, don’t underestimate a simple warrior’s battle of losing weight, we’ll never know what battle or battalion he could come up wiht. And, the battle to losing weight became a battle to getting more of the best of his self. Thus fear not those who come to the battle who wants to compete with you, but fear those people who compete to become the best of them because they can be boundless.   And, I guess that’s what made him such an inspiring runner. He may not have champion’s trophy but he can be a champ at inspiring others to not only run, but dig thru But for me, Garry Garcia is that security bubble in ultramarathons. When you see his face, together with Juliet Amazona, Be Your Own warrior He specializes in non-chain hotel kind of set-up, where he can put his heart into shaping the culture of the hotel, not only for the guests but as well for the people behind it. That’s why he The best of who you are.   For those joining the upcoming The Warrior Ultramarathon, if ever you feel dying, you now know who to blame! Blame Garry Garcia’s 12 ultramarathon a year pact in 2011!

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