Edward Dela Cruz Jr. and Malou Carlos checked something off their bucket list after completing the 2021 Boston Marathon virtually over the weekend.
Dela Cruz, the Saipan Run president, finished the 42-kilometer run in 5:48:54 last Monday morning and said it was great and painful at the same time.
“Virtual races are always the worst for me because you just don’t have the same feeling of running with others. There is no aid station. No crowd cheering. You have to carry your water and gear with you.”
The 29-year-old firefighter with the Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting unit of the Commonwealth Ports Authority said the marathon was made more difficult because of lingering injuries.
“I was not able to train for this due to a series of injuries. I’m currently going through physical therapy. I still went out and completed it though. I really did want to quit at mile 14 as my right heel pain was so excruciating. I was very fortunate that one of my close friends, Gerald Galang, came out and supported me the last half of the run to complete it. He almost literally dragged me for 12 miles. My plan was to run the half marathon route twice. The hardest part was knowing I needed to go back out and do one more lap, knowing you have to do the whole route again and being handicapped,” he said.
Dela Cruz said a local group of runners originally wanted to run the Boston Marathon together on Saturday, but some eventually begged off and he had responsibilities with his day job to attend to.
“We did have a group to run this together but everyone else was unable to do it this weekend. I wanted to join them Saturday, but I had to attend the cross country meet that morning. I also spent the day installing smoke alarms with the Red Cross and DFEMS for Fire Prevention Month so I needed more rest so I ended up doing it Sunday.”
Dela Cruz celebrated completing his first marathon at 1am at home with an ice bucket bath and a protein shake after literally being on the road since 6pm the day before.
“I’ve been running everyday for 1,724 day straight. Haven’t missed a day. I’m happy I got to complete my first marathon at 29.”
Carlos, a 52-year-old accountant at Mt. Carmel School, completed the virtual Boston Marathon last Saturday in a time of 6:39. It was her third overall marathon, having competed in a marathon in Hawaii in 2019 and the virtual New York Marathon in 2020.
“It’s just a project for myself trying to do one marathon every year and it was hard, brutal, ugly but it was a lot of fun…doing a virtual marathon is an honor system and it’s 85% a mind battle because you don’t have an audience. It’s just me, myself, and I,” she said.
“‘Run a marathon’ they said, it’s fun but the reality is it’s no joke…it is hard, painful, and it sucks. But once you finish it, you feel accomplished. There’s always this feeling of joy at every end of a long run,” added Carlos.
The Santiago City, Isabela in the Philippines native said like Dela Cruz she also had to overcome challenges when it came to training for the 42-kilometer race.
“I have a training plan but it was not consistent considering the weather that we have lately. You really need to have a lot of long runs to build endurance. I hurt my knee in the last 6 miles of the marathon but I have to finish it even if I had to crawl. This is a commitment to myself and it’s totally worth it.”
Carlos started running competitively in 2016 by joining 5K and 10K fun runs. Placing in those races inspired her to pursue the sport and a couple of years later she joined her first Saipan Half Marathon.
“[Running] is for my health and then I realized it’s something that I believed that I can do. This is a great stress-reliever. Though at times I question myself why I’m doing this to myself at my age and the answer is simple—it brings me happiness, every run is my ‘ME’ time,” the mother of one daughter and two pitbulls said.