Pinoy 'ultramarathoner' begins epic run

by Maria Sheila Riikonen, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau correspondent

Posted at Jun 02 2012 02:04 PM | Updated as of Jun 04 2012 05:17 PM

FINLAND – A 56-year-old entrepreneur aims to become the first Filipino global runner.

Cesar Guarin, a father to 4 children, is known as the “Father of the Philippines Ultramarathon.”

Pinoys showed their support to Guarin as he prepared to cross the Nordic countries of Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, continued to Scotland, Wales and ending on London, England on July 22, 2012.

“I’m rearing to run,” Guarin said to ABS-CBN News and enthusiastic migrant Filipino families and children joined by local Finnish media and sports enthusiasts.

Guarin is admired by local fans for his humble and easygoing attitude and his mission to help poverty alleviation in the Philippines.

He started his 2,262 km ultramarathon in Finland on May 27.

A crowd of Filipino overseas workers gathered at the Philippine Embassy in Helsinki to cheer for ultrtamarathoner Cesar Guarin
A crowd of overseas Filipino workers gathered at the Philippine Embassy in Helsinki, cheering “Mabuhay ang Pinoy! Mabuhay si Cesar Guarin!”.

Joon Malicse, Project Manager of the Global Run Team issued a challenge to the group: “The city who cheered most will be included in our (news) coverage.”

Migrant Filipinos such as Evelio Padilla, who is on disability pension and Jessica Nieminen, a single mom from Dumaguete, are a few of the financial contributors and well-wishers during the send-off.

“Even though our contribution is small, we really mean it because we are inspired by Cesar,” Nieminen said. The assistance that the Global Run Team get are in the form of homestay accommodation and the warm hospitality they always encountered in every stop.

The community lauded their “Batang Pangarap" mission for fundraising and sports development programs for street children.

Cesar Guarin (R)
“Currently, we are raising funds and looking at other possible beneficiaries,” Malicse said. Guarin’s son, Gati, was part of the 2-person Support Team, acting as his handler and support vehicle driver on the 79-day ultramarathon.

During the breakfast of traditional “lohi” salmon soup with bread with his homestay family and community leader Genebe Paavola from the Finnish-Philippine Association, Guarin was relaxed and smiling, as he recounted his experiences in Finland.

The Philippine Embassy in Helsinki earlier held a community fellowship on May 19 hosted by Blesila Cabrera, Charge d' Affaires and Consul General Patrick Hilado with Filipino representatives.

A leading Finnish daily ltasanomat lauded him as the “Filipino world runner covering over 40,000 kilometers in 40 countries until 2015,” after he graced the 9th Naisten Kymppi (Women's 10K Fun Run) as an inspirational speaker.

He was invited by the organizer Sanna Lanning to share his advocacy and stories of his run to a crowd of about 28,000 participants. Finland's biggest sporting event for women was participated by female runners, joggers and walkers of all ages. No less than former President of Finland Tarja Halonen also joined the annual event on previous years.

While in Helsinki, Guarin visited the Olympic Stadium, Olympic Tower, and the statue of the “Flying Finn” Paavo Nurmi, an iconic Finnish runner. He also gave a speech at the World Village Festival in Kaisaniemi Park attended annually by 10,000 people.

“It’s a festive atmosphere -- we are glad that our Pinoy hosts have arranged these programs for us,” Guarin said.

Guarin has been running for 30 years. The ultramarathon of Finland–England (7) 2,262 km in 45 days is part of 15 stages, usually 50 - 60 kilometers a day with intending to cover 43,258 kilometers in 42 countries and 860 running days.

For training, Guarin runs 8 hours a day in 1-3 months – this Stage 6 of Finland – England run (2,262 km) is his most challenging global run stage of all. When he finishes this mission, Guarin will be the 4th global runner in the world.