2ID awards former chain smoking soldier emerges 2nd in 505 kms Ultramarathon
The 2nd Infantry (Jungle Fighter) Division awarded former chain smoking soldier who bags the second place after completing the maiden edition of the Philippines’ longest-ever marathon, the 505-kilometer Naga (Queen) City to Quezon City Ultramarathon during a traditional Monday flagraising at Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal, today, November 12, 2018. Brigadier General Glorivine R Dida AFP, Assistant Division Commander, 2ID together with Colonel Faisal A Nawang, ADC for RRA and Colonel Jose Augusto V Villareal, Chief of Staff, 2ID led the giving of plaque of recognition and military merit medal to Technical Sergeant Edgar Miras. TSg Miras, the Acting Sergeant Major of the Philippine Army’s 202nd Infantry (UNIFIER) Brigade which has operational jurisdiction over CALABARZON, finished 2nd out of the five runners who started the race in front of Naga City Hall on 3:35 a.m. of October 31. “From the original 18 runners who applied to participate in this historic and record-breaking race, seven runners qualified during our pre-race deliberations, however, only five competitors showed-up during the gun-start in Bicol”, said Mr Rodelio I Mendoza, the Race Director. He added that among those who qualified, only three were strong enough to be able to finish the race which traversed three regions, six provinces, seven cities and 35 towns in a span of five days and about six hours. About seven hours into the race, somewhere in Sipocot area of Camarines Sur, one of the runners declared his intention to quit the race after completing around 57 kilometers which is equivalent to 11.29% of the total distance. The race organizers were then informed of the second runner’s intention not to finish the race on November 1 after suffering blisters and injuries at the kilometer 94 mark of the race in Daet, Camarines Norte area. According to Brigadier General Arnulfo Marcelo B Burgos Jr, the Brigade Commander of Technical Sergeant Miras, “our soldier’s ability to muster his will to finish the grueling race despite the injuries and lack of sleep and food is a manifestation of the kind of soldiers that we have today, committed and dedicated to their duties to serve the Filipino people and secure our land regardless of the challenges.” Aside from Southern Tagalog’s rugged and mountainous terrains, the runners faced the perils brought about by changing tropical weather conditions while painstakingly climbing the foothills of Mt Banahaw going to Cavinti, Laguna as well as the punishing ascent of the highlands of Rizal particularly the Mabitac-Teresa-Antipolo Complex. Major General Rhoderick M Parayno, Commander of the Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, lauded the soldier’s accomplishment specifically for “surviving the treacherous terrains of Bicol’s Bitukang Manok and Quezon’s Bondoc Peninsula.” He added that “this accomplishment is a testament of every Filipino soldier’s high-state of readiness to accomplish every mission wherever, whenever, whoever and whatever the threat maybe.” When asked about his motivation in joining and completing the ultramarathon, TSg Miras said that “at age 43, I wanted to show the people that their soldiers can still perform at a very high level thereby assuring them that they can sleep soundly at night with their families because we are always ready, fit and able-bodied to serve and protect them.” He added that for 18 years, he used to smoke three packs of cigarettes a day, a number that would easily double whenever he drinks liquor or alcoholic beverages. He quitted smoking 10 years ago after brushing elbows with death at the young age of 33 due to pneumonia and that joining long distance races has helped him stay away from cigarettes.