Mark has always stood out from the rest. At the starting line, amidst a sea of runners, Mark is easy to find not only because of his Caucasian features and physique but because when the gun fires you would see him zoom at the front of the pack with that intense, fiery look in his eyes. Mark is a rare sight in the world of running where being an average joe is the celebrated de facto standard.
You won’t see Mark flashing peace signs at cameras. Try calling him and maybe he wouldn’t even hear you. Because when he runs, everything is a blur and he hears no one but himself. He only hears his heart beating, the sound of his feet pounding the pavement. He is focused–focused on his breathing, his strides, and his running form. His mind is only set on one goal: the finishline. And when he sees the finish line, he rewards himself with all the training and preparation by setting himself lose and do an all-out, strong sprint to the finish line.
Perseverance, determination, and passion–these are the traits that Mark believes one must possess in order to achieve his goals, not only in running, but in life in general. And these are the same traits that he possesses and brings to the table for all his undertakings. For one’s performance in running, he believes, is a reflection of one’s character.
When did you start running? Why did you start running?
Started around 1988. My father took the fam to Banff, Canada for the annual Father's Day run there. I started out with the 3K and by the time I was 14 I tried the 10K, which I completed around 50 minutes. Ever since then I tried to incorporate running as a part of wanting a healthy lifestyle and strong cardio :)
What is your favorite distance? Why?
5K is for many the forgotten stepchild of the running distances (so many are convinced that longer is better) but I disagree. It's a mix of strength, stamina, strategy, and courage. Plus it's the distance that most makes me feel like vomiting when I go at it all-out.
What is your most memorable running moment? Event?
I can think of 3: 1. Running in Banff with my dad back in the '80s; 2. Chris Sports Epic Relay June 2010; 3. Milo Qualifiers 10K July 2010 (memorable in a bad way: it was then I decided I don't want to compete in massive running events anymore)
Who are your running idols?
Haile, Josh Cox, Bart Yasso, my father, and of course my TPB teammates :)
What was your weight before you started running? What is your weight now?
66kg. Hasn't changed much, if at all. I still want to knock off 2-3kg so that I can really cross the barrier into sub-20 5K territory.
How many pairs of shoes do you own?
More than I use. Adidas Adizero Adios for middle to long-distance, VFF KSO's, Brooks Green Silence, and 3 pairs of my all-time favorite shoe: New Balance RC130X (sadly out of production now).
What was your "slowest" race?
Excluding the races races in which I was pacer or just on a training run, it would be Run for Patricia's Dream in Alabang. 5.9K (supposed to be 5K) in 26:24 :(. Plus was injured afterwards.
What are your usual pre-race activities?
Coffee, cereal, talcum powder my feet, check my checklist, one cold glass of water. Then toilet, numbers 1 and 2 :)
What is your favorite non-TPB singlet?
Manila Road Runners (the running club I started prior to joining TPB)
What is your target race? What is your target finish time?
5K, sub 20 minutes. Been an unacheived goal of mine for far too long now.
Forefoot, midfoot, or heel?
Started as a heel striker, switched to forefoot, but now settled for the happy medium (midfoot).
What was your worst injury? How long were you sidelined?
Had shin splints in September 2010 after a long 1-month hiatus from running and buying a new pair of shoes. I don't know if the inactivity or the shoes were to blame. Luckily it completely healed within about 2-3 months.
How many races have you raced already? What is your total mileage since you started running?
According to my collection of bibs, it's been 29 races since moving to Philippines. Although not all of those were done as a competitor (some as pacer or for training). 1075KM in total (I still need to collect my 1000km shirt from Bald Runner!)
How did you get into TPB? When did you join TPB?
Brando "Ace" Losaria - my regular training partner - asked me in April or May 2010 if I wanted to fill out a certain team of 10 for the upcoming Epic Relay. I said sure, why not? I was also thrilled and flattered that he thought of me hehe.
What is your message to TPB fans and supporters?
Simply because it's not said enough: "Put the quality of your running ahead of the quantity. Run smart and run well!"
In your own words, what is running to you?
It's obviously a way to keep fit. Mankind was many eons ago a species which outran any animal on the planet, which is how we managed to catch prey before we had weapons. We are literally born to run, but that mentality has vanished. Running is simply one part of living up to our biological imperatives :)
If you are to create a running event what will you name it?
"TPB Fit in Fuchsia Run" and "Run for Animal Welfare" I hope to make either one or preferably both a reality in the next 12 months.
If you are to create a team of 5 runners for a 5 x 32 km race, who will your members be (can be anyone, runner or not, living or dead)?
Simply Wilnar, Super Hatdog Chris, JoggerNatz, Haile Gebrselassie, and Gordon Ramsay to shout out insults and provide snacks along the way.