The way this blog has evolved the past year, it’s quite obvious it has become a blog dedicated to Running. But don’t worry it will go back into the normal topics which are pretty much everything goes. For now let’s go back to running and talk about this one particular runner who traveled halfway across the world to share Hope in Leyte.
His name is Michael Quinlan. He is an American from New Jersey. He’s not your ordinary fun runner; he is a Boston Marathon veteran and a qualifier for this year’s edition. In layman’s term, this guy runs fast, as in really fast. Last February he got in touch with me through Facebook that he will be coming to Tacloban to volunteer and continue his Boston Marathon training to town. He wanted to meet the TOES and run with us. I told him it was an absolute honor to have him!
He arrived in Tacloban for a two week mission for the Volunteer for the Visayas, a non-profit organization. Like many of the foreigners who are in Tacloban, Michael wanted see the devastation firsthand and share to the community whatever help he can give. I can only he imagine how much Michael has to give up; financially, emotionally and professionally, just to be in Tacloban and help.
For the TOES, it was an honor to have him around and running with us. Our group is still in its infancy stage and we haven’t developed yet some elite and fast runners when Yolanda came. But out of nowhere, suddenly we got ourselves a Boston Marathon qualifier. We adapted Michael as one of our own, an honorary member and a personally, a good friend.
I am away from Tacloban this whole month, fortunately I had a 1-week seminar in Manila and I have to fly from Tacloban airport so it was my perfect opportunity to finally meet him. The TOES had a semi group LSD run last Sunday. I had my 18k but Michael was not able to join because he already dialed in 130 kilometers in his first six days in Tacloban. So we have him for a breakfast at Jollibee near Bethany Hospital.
Michael Quinlan is undeniably an American with fantastic Eastern accent. He’s good looking and quite younger and fitter for his age (the gift of running!). He also blends so easily with the group, man he’s a real conversationist! I love the way he talks and listen to our best English we could master. We learned a lot from him in just one breakfast setting: from running, training regimen, career, corporate finance, life, culture and the message of Hope. We can’t help but admire the guy because of his humility. He won the 18k race that day before and he wasn’t really absorbed with it. It was luck. He ran an additional 10k after the awarding.
And we talked about Boston. This year’s Boston Marathon means a great deal to him and also to us Leyte runners. It will be a year after the bomb attack. It’s also another year to rebuild our lives after Haiyan. So much have happened in 2013, all those heartbreak and tears and disappointments and angers we have seen on the news TV. Perhaps, it’s really the sad news that connected us. We’re glad that we meet someone who was there in Boston, and Michael for sure was eager to meet someone who survived Haiyan. That’s what he was here for at the first place – to meet us, run with us and touch each others’ lives. It was a beautiful experience as if we are destined to meet and share our lives.
To Michael Quinlan, by the time you read this you’re probably back at home and safe. We just wanted say that we are very very thankful for visiting Tacloban, our home turf, our city of Hope. You’re selfless efforts of reaching to us and the community will go a long way into our being not just as a runner but also a citizen of this connected world. Until we meet again. You’re a hero to us.
And oh, by the way, thank you very much for giving me your official Boston Marathon 2013 Supernova singlet. Man, I feel like a Boston qualifier already!