The Bull Runner : Dream Come True Marathon

From the starting line to the finish, every step of The Bull Run was a shared journey with our run clubs, loved ones, and fellow dreamers.


The Bull Runner is not just another race; it’s our first marathon. That’s the energy I felt as I approached the starting line, surrounded by 1,100 other runners.

The journey to the finish line was long, spanning 8 months. From the “budols” of our friends to sign up for a marathon, to running our longest distance on the road, and finally conquering those forty-two grueling kilometers. But was it really persuasion if we had made the commitment long ago and had been looking forward to this moment?

I began my running journey in 2019 and had waited five long years to run my first marathon. I first heard about The Bull Runner from the person who inspired me to take up road running while he was training for his own marathon. His story, along with many others who have shared their unforgettable and euphoric first marathon experiences, led me to this day, eagerly curious about what it feels like.


I formally began my training in November, after completing all my trail races. Ideally, it should have started earlier. I had actually stepped away from road racing for a while, opting for the mountains after feeling a sense of disconnection. Gradually, from one run to the next, I rekindled my love for the exhilaration, the long distances, and the constant desire for new gear.


Each run assignment given to me by my running coach and strength & conditioning coach was diligently attempted, despite the challenge of juggling a full-time job, a part-time job, and some volunteer work that involved travel and events.


“Yes please, CC. Homestretch already,” my coach replied to a message I sent informing him that I was on my way to Bontoc, Mountain Province for an important errand over the weekend. This, along with a Zoom call discussing nutrition during training, reminded me that I was close to running my 32km, the longest distance I would cover on the road before the full marathon. With each run, I felt more focused and made no excuses.

Some of my runs were accomplished through run-commutes from work to home (for reference: Alabang-Sucat via the service road) just to get them done. Some strength training sessions had to start at 4 in the morning just to check them off the list. Like many others, I navigated each assignment while juggling a lot of work and life challenges. In fact, my last 32km run had to be squeezed into a hectic week because I had a 4-day event to manage that weekend. I’m sure many of us made significant sacrifices and stepped out of our comfort zones to get things done.

I wouldn’t be surprised if any of my fellow runners experienced a drop in their immunity, like I did, due to a lack of rest. Because of that, I learned more about the importance of recovery and embraced it by getting more sleep (even if that meant napping during lunch at work), eating better, and prioritizing the key runs I had left. Before I knew it, I was already tapering.


This was the moment: the starting line of my first marathon and the finish line of this incredible journey. I was suddenly engulfed by a mix of excitement and nerves. After a team huddle with my teammates from WeKenRun, I made a quick last-minute bathroom visit before joining the crowd with my pacer. There, we found my Screaming Nachos friends, all set to venture into the unknown territory beyond 32 kilometers.

The advice of the Philippines’ women’s marathon record holder, Christabel Martes, echoed in my ears: “Just run your own race.” So, I did. It was serendipitous that I had met her just a few days before TBR Dream Marathon. I was reminded that this race was mine for the taking, and I was toeing the starting line alongside many other dreamers, all of us ready to become doers.


Every time people discovered that I was running The Bull Run (TBR), they would ask about my goal. I recall telling my coach, “I want to cross the finish line happy.” As my training progressed, a target pace and time were eventually set. However, today was not about chasing a specific time; it was about pursuing a dream. I was running my first marathon alongside many others, all of us blissfully unaware of the pain ahead, yet united by the beauty of our community.

The course at Filinvest presented us with four challenging loops, each filled with grueling uphills and seemingly endless turnarounds. Yet, the energy along the route was incomparable. From tent to tent, cheers and support lifted each runner, making us forget the distance we were covering. The pounding of the pavement was so intense that I didn’t even notice my Garmin vibrating at each lap. The smiles and encouragement I received along the way made the weight in my legs feel lighter.

It was the most exhilarating experience I’ve ever had. That day was filled with countless stories, shared over the hours we spent together. I witnessed tears, limping, celebrations, and more as runners approached the finish line. There was a runner who finished with blood on her knees, a pregnant woman who moved with grace, children eagerly waiting for their parents, and friends and strangers alike offering tireless support. Amidst all of this, and with tears streaming down my cheeks (with all the sodium i tried my best to keep in), I found myself saying, “I love running


From the training sessions to the starting line, The Bull Run is a celebration of all the hard work, consistency, and grit we have invested. Every step is dedicated to each and every person who made it possible. Forty freakin’ two kilometers were shared with our respective run clubs, loved ones, strangers, and everyone who mutually understands the significance of this endeavor. It wasn’t a race against each other, but a race towards the finish line.

I am sure I wasn’t the only one who cried upon hearing, “YOU ARE A MARATHONER” Suddenly, all the accumulated pain and doubts about finishing the 42 kilometers vanished. I am grateful that my first marathon was The Bull Runner. The community is built differently—people guide you through every step of the way and support you as if they’re your family. I now understand why people look forward to running their first marathon here. This is, by far, the happiest I have ever been in my road running journey, and I look forward to more.


To my fellow batchmates, we did it! We are now marathoners. I hope we all gained valuable insights and that everyone crossed the finish line safely. I have never seen such eagerness to finish as I did today, completing the course loop by loop. May this run have been a memorable first experience, and may it inspire us to feel excited about running future marathons. I’m sure we all had our reasons for signing up, but I believe we’ve all fallen even more in love with running after this experience. Let’s not forget to give back to the community that tirelessly helped us step out of our comfort zones. For now, let’s focus on recovery and remember to stretch.

To my coaches, Ken Mendola and Carl Cruz, I am grateful for all the guidance and patience you’ve shown throughout this journey. We still have much to work on, but I couldn’t be more satisfied with executing this marathon injury-free and with genuine happiness.

To my family, friends, and WeKenRun, you have made this journey more meaningful and inspiring. When everything started to hurt, I kept looking forward to passing by and seeing everyone cheerfully smiling.

To my training partner and overall coach, Kyle, life has been crazy; but you are crazier for believing I can do great things. Thank you for the guidance and for being there every step of the way.

To myself, you’ve finally done it! I am proud of the athlete you’ve become over the years and how much you’ve grown. You have found love in life through running. It saved you years ago, and I am happy that you’ve discovered even more reasons to be in love with it. Here’s to running more and sharing this beautiful thing called running with everyone around you. You have proven yourself to be strong many times.

To you reading this, don’t ever stop doing what makes you feel alive.


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