Sunday, February 2, 2014

Ultra-marathoner Cesar Guarin completes Middle East Global Run with Cebu Pacific


Ultra-marathoner Cesar Guarin has his sights on setting a record as the first Filipino, and first Asian, to complete a global run. More than his passion for the sport, his goal to circumnavigate the globe is his way of bringing pride and showing his unyielding support for his countrymen, especially those working hard abroad. Guarin’s latest feat was conquering the Middle East, passing through Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The seventh of his 18-stage global run, the Middle East stage of his quest allowed him to establish a deeper connection with overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) there.

The first run early last year covered majority of the Middle East, a total of 932 kilometers in 32 days. Guarin completed the second run in December 2013, covering another 611 kilometers in the UAE in 21 days. “I’ve always wanted to do a Middle East Run,” he said. “We have several millions of kababayans out there working to provide a better future for their families and in turn they are able to help support our country’s economy. For me, they are our modern-day heroes, my inspiration for undertaking a tribute run for the global Filipino.”

Known as the Father of Ultra-marathon in the Philippines, Cesar Guarin is setting out to complete a global run to show his support for his countrymen, especially those working hard abroad.

During the run, Guarin took time off to share his message of thanks to OFWs during weekends. He also encouraged them and locals to get into sports. They team up with Filipino sports communities and the Ministry of Sports to promote running and other sports through "fun runs" as a way to encourage health and fitness, teamwork, competitiveness and friendship among the communities.

Cesar Guarin was accompanied by Alex Reyes, Cebu Pacific General Manager for Long-haul Division, in his run from Jebel Ali to Al Barsha in the UAE.

A spiritual journey. Apart from boosting the morale of OFWs there, Guarin was able to enjoy the most stunning sights of the Middle East. “When you run for hours the whole day and you see breathtaking landscapes, you honestly don't get tired, but rather you feel refreshed, blessed and at peace with nature,” he said. Among Guarin’s best memories was being on the road with Saudi Arabia-born marathon runner Dunya Elias in Bahrain. “Dunya guided me through the day and revised my route so that we could pass the Tree of Life, a 400-year old tree in the middle of the desert and a popular site for the most daring tourists,” he shared. “Later, she hosted our team for the night in their grand villa.” Guarin added that he loved running across the desert mountains of Oman, crossing the border to the UAE. “The Jebel Hafeet Mountain is the highest point in the Emirates. It stretches for 7.3 miles and the climb was nearly 4,000 feet. The run to the top was like a spiritual journey,” he shared. 

A great mission. As he continues to reach out to OFWs abroad, Guarin counts Cebu Pacific, the country’s leading low-cost carrier, as one of his biggest champions. The airline’s general manager for long-haul division Alex Reyes, also a triathlete, even joined Guarin in his run from Jebel Ali to Al Barsha in the UAE. “I’m very grateful and proud to have Cebu Pacific’s support for our Global Run Project,” he said. “The year-round low airfare they offer is really a big help for OFWs and allow them to travel more frequently to be with their loved ones back home.”

“Para sa Pilipino, tatakbuhin ko ang buong mundo!” Cesar Guarin  conquered the Middle East, covering Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates—a total of 932 kilometers—in 32 days.

Now that the Middle East run is completed, he will set out for the 2,500-km North America Run (Stage 8 of the Global Run), where another three to four million Filipino migrants and OFWs are based. “Yes, the Filipino is worth running for,” he said. “Para sa Pilipino, tatakbuhin ko ang buong mundo (For the Filipino, I will run around the world)!”
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