Doctors brave dreaded Chicago run

Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Doctors brave dreaded Chicago run

CEBUANO runners and practicing doctors conquered the dreaded 42-kilometer Chicago Marathon last Oct. 12.

Eye specialist Doctor Yong Larrazabal and heart surgeon Dr. Peter Mancao, along with the US-based James Abilla, Alan Abilla and Margaret Branick-Abilla, conquered the searing heat at the Windy City as the only Filipinos who registered and finished the race this year.

“Chicago was no longer a Windy City that day, Chicago became a furnace as we run along,” said James Abilla of St. James Water at the press conference yesterday.


The same marathon took two lives last year, forcing the organizer to cut short the race because of the sudden rise of temperature.

This year, the temperature rose to as high as 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius).

Larrazabal described it as a freak weather since it was very cold a day before and a day after the race.

However, with the extreme condition, Larrazabal finished the fastest among the five as he crossed the 42-kilometer route in 4 hours, 49 minutes and 37 seconds.

“I had serious cramps in both my thighs at KM 20. I can’t move my legs and it was the first time that I experienced a debilitating pain. Luckily, there was a group of four Canadians who helped me. They massaged my thighs and helped eased up my muscles. One of them suggested that I have to drop out of the race but I told them I flew all the way from the Philippines to finish this race. They applauded my decision and wished me luck,” Larrazabal stressed.


Larrazabal was counted as the 16,993 finisher.

Abilla and his wife Margaret checked in next at 5:24:59, Alan was the fourth to cross the finish line with time clocking at 6:14:32.

Dr. Mancao, who had to walk for the next 20 kms., crossed the finish line at 7:26:12.

A total of 45,000 had registered, but only 31,343 finished the race, which was won by Cheruiyot Evans of Kenya.

The organizers had increased from 15 medical stations complete with medical staffs and a waiting ambulance of last year to 20 while putting up a water station at every 2.5 kilometer.

Larrazabal, Mancao and Abilla have set their eyes on another marathon on April 20 next year. (RCM)

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