Meet the first Filipino North Pole marathon finisher

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 04 2016 12:45 AM

It was a test of endurance, an adventure that's full of tremendous physical and mental torture.

Nevertheless, it's an unforgettable experience for real estate mogul Victor Consunji, who braved the North Pole Marathon, dubbed as the world's coldest marathon. He's the first Filipino to have finished such a race.

“As a Filipino it’s kind of something that’s really out of this world, it’s out of my comfort zone, I think it’s out of all our comfort zone, and when someone gave me the idea to do it, I said ‘okay this is a challenge worth striving for’,” he told Mornings @ ANC.

It's a huge accomplishment for Consunji, who grew up in a tropical country and who has only been running for two and a half years. Consunji impressively finished the marathon in 6 hours, 46 minutes and 50 seconds, coming out 13th among the male participants.

 

A video posted by Victor Consunji (@victorconsunji) on

WHY JOIN SUCH A RACE?

After running a couple of international marathons in Asia, Australia, and North America, Consunji decided it was time for something new.

Though unsure about what awaits him, and with no one to orient him about the life-threatening run, Consunji traveled his way to North Pole.

“We were supposed to run on April 9, the Russians who built the base camp and who built the ice runways ran technical difficulties, this year the polar ice was a little thinner than usual, global warming has caused more instability and each runway would crack almost as fast as they were building them," he said.

"So they got to about runway number 5 before they found a stable runway and they flew us in, and almost like clockwork as we landed and the plane took off to take up the second batch of runners, the runway cracked again, effectively stranding us on the pole.”

Surprises and uncertainties also hit Consunji as he reached for the finish line. Thankfully, there were event organizers who encouraged him.

 

A photo posted by Victor Consunji (@victorconsunji) on

“I was surprised, it turned out that the North Pole in some cases had snow as deep as your knees, some parts were runnable and some parts were you can’t trudge through snow, it’s very difficult and the worst part is we’re kind of worried whether polar bears would show up or whether cracks in the ice would show up or you’d just get frozen,” he shared.

Freezing, physically and mentally exhausted, thoughts of a reunion his wife, former actress and beauty queen Maggie Wilson, and son Connor, pushed Consunji to the finish line.

“I think family is important, you want to be better for your family, indirectly and directly you want them to be proud of you, you want to do it for yourself, you want to do it for them," he said.

“That’s the beauty of this challenge, I’ve put myself in a situation where you have no choice, you have to go forward, if I wanna see them [family], I have to get to the finish line, if I stop here then I become feed to the polar bears."